Saturday, May 31, 2014

Six things I learned in May

Today, I'm joining other writers over at Chatting at the Sky to share what we learned in May. This is a link up started by Emily Freeman several months ago so we can share the fascinating, ridiculous, sacred or small.

1. I'm going to give up on negative loyalty. A virtue that I used to think was all good and not bad, has me twisted up in the game. By personality, I am a very loyal person. This is great when it comes to relationships in my life that are healthy, and beliefs and values that serve me well.

However, this characteristic of loyalty that I possess is not good when it comes to outdated beliefs I’ve held onto, or to ideas and people that no longer serve me. Mostly, I am talking about things like:

dogmatism (Webster: a viewpoint based on insufficiently examined premises. There.)




I need and want to embrace the fact that I can change outdated beliefs and ideas that no longer serve me well. To give up on negative loyalty.

2.  I still struggle with self-confidence. I took a seminar this month that in it's very nature is still helping me to grow in this. It may be a life long growth process. But, I am excited that I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel in this area! Woo!

3. Looking into downsizing our dwelling is a lot more challenging than I thought it would be. Even though I need to purge more of my possessions, this is not what I am talking about.

What I realized in starting to look at smaller homes, in a much lower price range, is that my husband and I have had to have many more discussions about priorities than I expected. 

I thought if I found a house I liked in the price range that we agreed on, that he might just willingly comply with my wishes and discount his! 

Why did I think this?

Hmm. I was wrong. On two occasions. I have had to let go of expectations, and become more open minded. This was a surprise to me. (really?) 

After being married to this man for almost thirty years. 

Kevin and Anne as newlyweds

This just reminds me that no matter how long you are married, healthy communication will always trump assuming!!

4. My daughter and I started watching The Paradise TV series together on DVD. The series begins in 1875, and is about a young woman who goes to stay with her uncle in Northeast England, but also needs a job. She gets a job at a department store called The Paradise, where only single women are permitted to have jobs. And, they are required to live there.

It’s full of drama with all the young women employees living and working together and fighting over the owner, Mr. Moray, who happens to be a widower and is quite handsome. Check it out, if you like period shows! We’ve already established which characters are atrocious and which ones we like. 

5. Yesterday, I made a birthday cake for my son's twenty fourth birthday. I eat gluten free, but I made him a "glutenous" cake (as my family puts it.) I found that I didn't feel deprived one bit by making myself a root beer float instead of having a piece of cake! Yup! 

hubby and I lighting the candles spelling out "24"

6. It seems I spent a lot of the month of May trying to learn (with my doc) how to get more sleep! So, lots of things learned in the “taking care of me” department this month! Here’s to a very fruitful, sleep-filled June filled with teachable moments!

Thanks for stopping!! :)

Friday, May 30, 2014

There's nothing so sweet

Today is Five Minute Friday~I'm joining lots of other creatives over at Lisa Jo Baker's blog to write on the prompt: "nothing". No editing in the writing. Just writing for the fun of it. Won't you stop by over there, or better yet, join in? 


I’ve been finding lately that there’s nothing so sweet as kindness.

Except for maybe hope. 

Hope has been called that thing with feathers that sits within the soul. 
Hope has also been called an anchor. 

I can see how it can be both those things. 

Something so light, that it’s ready to take off into the highest heavens trying to entice you to catch hold of it.

It is also an anchor. Hope, when all hope is lost is an anchor. That hope I’ve found is in God my Father. 

An anchor isn’t going anywhere. It’s solid. It stays put even in the stormiest seas. Even when the wind beats it, it won’t budge. That’s what true hope is. 

Where have you found this kind of hope?

Back to the kindness thing. 

I guess kindness came first in my mind because I’ve been experiencing the kindness of people in the most unlikely of places. 

Just in my day to day dealings with people. 

And, you know what? That is what’s given me hope lately.

Have you found that to be true too, 

that when you experience kindness from someone, maybe someone you didn’t expect it from, or maybe it’s a total surprise that knocked your socks off….haven’t you found that that unlikely, surprising, coming-out-of-no-where kindness ignites a hope in you that won’t budge? 

That hope that is not unlike an anchor. 

But that hope that has the wings,

the feathers that woo you to take off and fly.


Thanks for stopping by, friend!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

4131: Friendship personified

My daughter graduated from college Friday night. 

Being an Advertising major, she was 7th in line of about 400, so we listened to 393 names after hers. A test in endurance for sure.

But, the real party happened down by the ladies restroom moments after the auditorium cleared. This is where we told our daughter to meet us. 

4131 met us there, too.


The number of the apartment much too small for the four big hearts living there for the past year.

Yes, "4131" is what they call themselves. 

A force of friendship to be reckoned with.

How can I describe this group of friends as lovely as a spring day and as diverse as a Midwest prairie? 

They met each other in a small group a little over a year ago. They all joined this group "randomly." 

Randomly is in quotes because I don't believe in random at all. "Random" is a word I'm going to faze out of my vocabulary. No. Random their meeting was not.

I believe God brought these gals together.

I didn't meet these girls in person often, but my daughter talks and I listen.

I heard about the movie journal they kept right by their flat screen TV recording over 100 movies they watched together this year (I jokingly asked, "did you come to college for class or movies??)

"Movies" was the unanimous answer.

As did all the girls of 4131, they apparently referred to me not as Kara's mom, but by my first name, "Anne". In fact, 4131 referred to each girl's parental unit by their first names.  

Kara might say, "Anne is knitting again." To which 4131 would reply something like, "Oh, Anne, she's so crafty." 

These girls not only got each others jokes, they got each other lives. And, to my knowledge didn't get on each others nerves (too much anyway--a modern day miracle in my book!)

These girls--4131--all love Jesus in a way that shows in their faces, their talk and their friendship.

4131's love for each other swells my heart and invites me to cherish my friends and to stand on my tippy-toes and look over the fence for new ones God will bring my way. 

Their acts and words of love for each other inspire me to be a better friend.

I could tell in the very personal gifts each one gave my daugher Friday night that each of these precious 4131 gals felt like I do.

They struggled and still struggle to find words to describe what they've had over the past year in each other.

*unity and love




*listening ears

*clothing swaps

*late night pizza runs

*celebrity swooning (too many men to mention--all in good taste, of course--honorable mention going to news anchor Brian Williams)

*celebrating each other's successes

*Walmart runs

*even a requested winter photo shoot

As I mentioned, I'm struggling to find the words to describe what these girls have meant to me in the past year.

How grateful I am and have been to know how much they love Jesus and love each other.

This is blessing.
This is friendship personified.

Caitie, Catherine and Caitlyn, you make me misty-eyed to think of you.

You will always be remembered and cherished for the girls you each are and for the love that you've shown to each other.

For the friendship you've given my daughter.

It seems too trite to say, but thank you for being friends.

Caitlyn, Kara, Catherine, and Caitie

Love, Keer's mom

Linking up today with Coffee for Your Heart and with Three Word Wednesday

Saturday, May 10, 2014

when you go for a walk in the woods...

As we were talking the other morning about his springtime hobby my oldest son said, “It’s the thrill of the hunt.”

The thrill of the hunt. He must have gotten that from me.

I get that and I said to him, “You are just like me in this except mine is over junk and yours is over Morel mushrooms.” 

We smiled over that.

After lunch, my two sons and I went to a near-by woods.

The wild Blue Bells covering the slope greeted us on the path, mingled with last year’s leaves, broken branches, stumps and full growth trees.

This was a sanctuary.

The gorgeous woods with indigo birds singing, and hidden animals scampering in the rustling leaves.

My oldest son has a degree in Forestry. 

“Look closely around the base of half rotten tree trunks. Especially Elms and Ash trees. Morels love that environment.” 

Crouching down, he modeled to my other son and me how to carefully scan the area beneath these trees to look for these particular mushrooms. 

Trees marked with lightening burn marks, trees with wood pecker holes in them, trees that were half dead.  “This takes patience.” He said.

Pointing to a tiny white flower he bent down and touched it. “These are Dutchman’s Britches”. I’ve never heard of those, but he knew them and sure enough they did resemble upside down white britches.

Dutchman's Britches

Here we were, standing and walking, looking and crouching in the midst of beauty. An unexpected detour in an ordinary day.

The birds singing in the canopy. 

My son pointing out a huge oak. 

He could name these trees just looking at the way the bark ran up the side.

Not surprising for a Forestry expert.

And three indigo birds just sitting on a branch within our view not caring that we were there at all.

After about an hour and a half the breeze had died down and the sun had become warm. No Morels were found today.

We all agreed there was no loss though. A walk in the woods on a glorious day is gift in itself.

Have a glorious weekend, friends!

Linking up today with The Weekend Brew!

Friday, May 9, 2014

if there's nothing to be grateful for

Today, I'm linking up with other fantastic writers at Lisa Jo Baker's blog for Five Minute Friday. Five minutes of unedited writing. Today's prompt is grateful.

Lord, my heart is full of negativity today. I can’t think of anything to be grateful for.

My child, did you not see the sunset I made for you last night? And the night before that?
Did you not hear the rain on your roof and see the blooms on the spring trees?
This is for you.

Yes, Lord, I did hear and I did see. Thank you.

And, child, did your husband come home safely from his trip in the rainstorm?

Did your son come over to chat this week? Did he ask you to go on a walk in the woods?

Yes, Lord, he did come home safely from his trip.

My son did stop over to chat.

He did ask me to go on a walk in the woods.

Thank you, Lord.

Child, is your daughter finishing up her college career today? 
Are your children all healthy and strong and wise young adults? 
Who love me? 
And who love you?

Yes, Lord! Thank you so much for my daughter and my sons! They are some of the most precious gifts you’ve given me. I won’t ever be able to thank you enough! Thank you for the chance to become a mother.

Child, how do you feel now that you’ve taken a minute to remember the good gifts that have been right in front of you? How do you feel after pondering these?

Oh, Lord, I am so very grateful.



Thanks for stopping by today, friend!

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Artist's canvas

I'm joining other brave writers at Five Minute Friday over at Lisa Jo Baker's blog. The idea is to write for five minutes straight. No edits. No backtracking. Just pure writing for the fun of it. Won't you join in the fun? Today's prompt is: MESS.


The Artist looked down at his canvas.

It was dark. 

It was formless and void, but he had plans for it. 

Oh, he had big, big plans.

It didn’t take any effort at all, just words and the canvas had light. 
Then, the Artist began adding colors. So many colors that don’t even fit on an ordinary color wheel. 

Colors of magenta and indigo and peachy and pinks and all manner of colors. He splashed them on his canvas in a lavish fashion. 

He didn’t have to be careful about it because he is the perfect One and even his most messy artist ways are perfect.

It may look a mess to us, but from his angle,

 his artist canvas, his masterpiece, is perfect

 as he is.

He decorated his canvas in ways that are beyond human comprehension. His canvas stretches as far as our eyes can see. We can’t even fathom the depth, the riches, the love, that he has put into his art.

We take after him, yes we do.

We are creative and artistic beings that bear his image. We bear his likeness and we can create beautiful things out of nothing really, just as he created beautiful things out of dust. 

He created us.

Lavish artistic array. 

He created it all with perfection. He made all of what we see and experience out of the mess of darkness.



Thanks for visiting today, friend! Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

What I learned in April

I'm linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky for her "What I learned" link up. Below I'm sharing some things I learned in April in no particular order. Come on over to to read what other writers are learning. Both the silly and the serious!

1. The first thing I've learned since writing these end of the month posts is that if I do not keep notes during the month, I get to the end and it feels like I haven't learned anything. Not true, of course.

2. If you ask clearly for what you need, you just might get it. We had to travel from Iowa to Indiana last weekend. I had a seminar and my husband had to drive on Saturday to Columbus, OH. I didn't have a way to get to my seminar. (call a taxi? I've never.) 

So, I emailed the bed and breakfast we were planning to stay in and they said, sure, they could drop me at my seminar on Saturday morning. (Actually, they made their eighteen year old son get up early on Saturday morning to take me. No joke. He was not too talkative on the drive.) No charge. 

And, John, the Innkeeper, made my gourmet breakfast an hour earlier than everyone else. I will tell all of my friends about Prairie Guest House in Fishers, IN. Plus, the room "Courtney", in the 100 year old house, was sweet. Here's a pic from their website because I forgot to take a picture!

3. We finally named our new-to-us Camry. His name is Wilson (not my choice, but it is approved by my husband and adult children, and of course the car could not be a girl's name.) It's growing on me. Named aptly after the dealership where we purchased him.

Yes, we name our vehicles. You should try it. It makes life a lot more fun.

My husband's previous car was J-LO, not necessarily after the actress, but because the license plate randomly said JLO before the numbers. My husband's current commuting car is named Scotty. He is red, and Scotty from Star Trek wears a red shirt. And since Scotty from Star Trek is my husband's hero, his red car became Scotty. (are you ready to commit our family yet?)

And, last but not least, the van we just traded off had been named endearingly  "The Meatwagon" by our three kids. How heartwarming! My daugher was actually sad when we got rid of the Meatwagon.

4. My "new" Camry has an awesome sound system and I've newly discovered that Josh Groban's voice is the perfect road trip companion.

5. My birthday was April 23rd and I wanted to go to a new restaurant that we hadn't tried before. I always have to check for a gluten free menu. When I saw that they served sandwiches on gluten free buns, I was all in. 

We went to Granite City Food and Brewery, and I ordered a Reuben sandwich. The first Reuben I've had in at least five years. It was like sandwich heaven. My husband liked his burger too, so we'll definitely be going back! 

6. I tried a new dishcloth knitting pattern. I only had to rip three of the points out one time and then, success! I finished a new dishcloth on our roadtrip last weekend. All I need to do is sew up the side and cinch up the center. I think this one is rather pretty! 

Thanks for stopping by! 

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