A slice of life on 10 acres in the woods. Thoughts on raising 4 sons, guiding 4 grandsons, keeping up a 35 year marriage, maintaining friendships, finding memories, and trying to follow God on the journey.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

My son, Beau, lives in Denver and wouldn't be home for Thanksgiving but was able to get the weekend off before Thanksgiving, to go to a friend's wedding in KC.  He and his girlfriend decided  to drive through the night so they'd have as much time as possible with family. (Who needs sleep when you are 24 years old?)  During  Joy's turn to drive she ran the car out of gas at 3 AM, trying to make it to the next town, 17 miles short of Salina.  She woke Bo.  After some discussion, flashers on, cars passing, temps in the 20°s and car cooling fast, they decided to walk to the next mile marker to find out where they were exactly before trying to call for help.  Cars passed.  They were worried, scared and COLD.  Just as they got back to their car a man going the opposite direction pulled off the highway and ran across to them. 

He had been driving to Salina and had seen their stopped car and when he looked back in his mirror he saw the flashers on and them standing outside of their car.  He was too far past them to help by then so he drove on to Salina, then turned around and came back to help them!  Then he drove them on to the next town to get gas and brought them back to their car before continuing on his way.

I just can't get over how this guy went SO far out of his way for strangers that he wasn't even sure needed help, really.  There are so many ways this story could have ended with a far less happy ending.  I wanted to share what a difference a random act can have.   There is so much bad news in the world today.  We need to hear and share these stories when we know them.  Just sharing them is kind of an RAK in itself because it spreads hope.  

If I had been traveling on I-35 that night, I'd have been like that guy, looking up in my mirror, wondering if those folks need help, weighing the possibilities.  Realizing I was too far past them anyway, I'd have gone on.  I'd have sent up a prayer, and maybe others in those passing cars did that, too.  I'd probably have regretted I hadn't stopped but I wouldn't have gone back to check on them.  So, praise to God, that there are those willing to take a risk, to go out of their way, to give help and hope.  Let them be a shining  example to the rest of us. ♥

Friday, November 22, 2013

I recently came across the photo that was taken right before my youngest son, Beau, left to make a life in Denver at the end of July.  He and his girlfriend, Joy, had just graduated from college.  They had no jobs waiting for them but were going to sleep on the floor of a friend’s apartment until they could find something.   I pulled up this picture and enlarged it on my computer to see our smiling faces.  Everyone looks good.  Happy. 

Look closer.   Maybe you won’t notice, if you don’t know that we are usually a family full of silly.  We pose with wide grins that shine right up to our eyes, but there is sadness in these smiles.  We are happy for one another but there is no joy in these melancholy smiles.

I knew when Beau graduated he would be off seeking adventures and a life of his own.  This is the way it should be. I know that.  My goal as a parent has been to prepare my kids to leave us and make a place for themselves in the real world and to follow God’s lead in making it more beautiful.  I really do want that. 

There were no tears when they left, only happiness, and cheer and excitement.  Angus and I hugged them off and waved farewell.  Even as I stood and watched their jam-packed cars pull away, I knew we were entering a new stage in our life. They were not the first of our children to go off but they are the last.  A little place inside me went empty right then. But life goes on and I turned back toward the house and let it feel normal.  We still have Kev and CJ and their wonderful wives, and our beautiful grandchildren are all 4 close by.  That is a wonderful blessing in itself!

The best and the worst of life is that it is always moving, always changing,  unpredictable and we have to make choices that are difficult.  The changes can be wonderful or heartbreaking.  Usually it's somewhere in between that but life goes on.  We can fight against it but it comes.  Be ready (and willing?).  

Lord, give me the strength and and insight to move with it.  Don’t let me be left behind and go all stagnant.  Lead me to new adventures.  Grow me in ways that I can’t even imagine yet!

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I just discovered this little piece I wrote a few years ago but never published.  Interesting to look at it with today's eyes:

The desire to matter. I'm reading the book Fearless by Max Lucado and I have just discovered that one of my greatest fears in life is quite common. I want to make a difference. At my age I am wondering if it is too late, if I passed so many opportunities due to laziness, or busyness or fear that I won't be given any more chances. I got to thinking about that and it occurred to me that this is probably why those of us with older children start getting a bit controlling almost manic in our persuasions for our kids to accomplish something. It's why we take such pride in their achievements. If I haven't made much of a difference to the world in my so-small life maybe I can still count it if one of my kids does something worthy! After all, I had a pretty big hand in making them what they are today.... right?  My kids are mostly grown now. Will I be able claim greatness through one of them?

My first born, CJ, was an amazing child! (chuckle) He crawled at 5 months, walking, running, by 8 monts, an adventurous toddler. He'd probably grow up to be a professional athlete or something. He amazed us by learning to read by watching the words as I read books to him, was reading on his own before kindergarten... a boy genius! He'd probably end up being a scientist or something. In first grade his teacher recommended he be tested for the gifted program because he was so advanced. Wow! He'd probably become a world leader or something. LOL

So it has been with Kev, Zeke and Beau. Each has their own rare and wonderful talents and personalities and dreams. None is a high achiever or ambitious. I suppose that since I was so ready to claim their victories I should also admit that they are what they are in part because we didn't push. We just encouraged them be what they were meant to be. 
Yet, am I not disappointed. CJ is intelligent and can carry out a lively conversation. He's the one who is most willing to come over to help us out and as well as just stop by to visit. He married Ana and she has been a lovely addition to our heavily-testosteroned family. They gave us a grandson, too, in little Blue. I had no idea a grandchild could bring such joy to my heart and my life.

Kev has grown into a man who is kind and thoughtful. He's the romantic, too, and is marrying in April. He loves children and will be an incredible daddy some day.  I am so pleased with how he has turned out.

Zeke is fresh out of college and trying to find that special place where he can serve God. He'd like nothing better than to drop out of society's expectations.  He can be quite inspiring with his genuine love for God, is never preachy and has an ability to understand others' views.

Bo is the one that makes everyone smile.  Even when you don't want to.  He marches to his own drum and his drum is fun. Pretty much raised by his brothers, he got a little piece of the best of each of them. He is care-free (about what you think of him) but is deeply caring (about being a good person).

My sons are all lovely, wonderful, giving, non-ambitious men. They, no doubt, will each make a mark in their world but I can't claim it. I'll have to do that on my own. And it is not too late. God isn't finished with me yet either.

Farther on down the road...

It's been a year and a half since I've typed any words into this old blog and before that it was very sporadic. It was 7 years ago when I first started blogging and I took to it instantly. My sons were teens then; life was full of adventure and fun. My life was interesting... at least I thought so. You know, never a dull moment? I actually developed a small following! But life moves on and so have the boys. I took less joy in writing about it all as I felt the pressure of people watching. It was taking up so much precious time, as well, writing about life instead of living it. It was becoming an ego trip. So I pretty much dropped out a few years ago, only occasionally finding something worthy of sharing.

Life still intrigues me! It is different now in so many ways, but better than ever. Beau, my son who once told me he would always be my baby even when he is a grown-up cowboy, just moved into an apartment in the city as he finishes his last year of college. Zeke took off in January, for adventure while he is still young enough to live on nothing but life and is in Nashville, right now. Kev and CJ both married wonderful women and have each given us two grandsons and still live nearby. Angus is thinking about retiring but can’t quite bring himself to do it.

Now, no one is looking again. I am not a writer, only an aging woman who looks at life, knows it is good, and wants to remember it. I think I will replay some of the events of the last few years and then, well, I know the adventure will continue!

Many blessings ♥


Sunday, February 20, 2011

I have a dear friend who is a God-fearing woman.  Dua is one of the few people on this planet with whom I can, and do, have deep and meaningful discussions about God.  She challenges my thinking and I challenge hers.  We both grow from it.  I feel so blessed to have this kind of relationship with her.

There is a thing that she and I haven't agreed on but has made me stop and really think about my own beliefs and why I believe them.  I think this is a good thing to do, don't you?  Dua believes that some of the bad stuff that happens to us, or to our loved ones, is a punishment for our behavior.   She can even give some compelling contemporary examples.

I have never understood the thing about fearing God, although I admit the scriptures are rampant in the Old Testament.  I haven't found anything like that in the new testament though; nothing since Jesus made his ultimate sacrifice for the sins of mankind.  Everything I can find, everything I know, everything inside me, tells me that God Is Love

I love my children and I punished them when it was needed.  I learned this early with my first-born, strong-willed child: Spanking doesn't really work in the way we want it to.  It always left me with a sense of frustration and shame that I had resorted to that, usually because I couldn't think of anything better at the time.  I'm pretty sure God can think of something much more affective.  While the swat would stop CJ's behavior it did not prevent it from happening again and it made for lots of anger from both of us and the effect was a power struggle. 

When gentle Kevin came along it was very different.  A light swat on his seat would just about broke his little heart.  He seemed so humiliated and hurt.  I do not believe that God wants to crush our spirit or cause us to shudder at the mention of his name.

Okay, so my point is : God is love.  In fact, I believe that God is love in its purest form.  I am a child of God - meaning: I'm God's and I'm still a child (spiritually-speaking), and have a lot to learn.   He wants to teach me and help me grow and inspire me to be all I can be.  He wants me to "get it" and do all the wonderful things he has planned for me but he knows all of my weaknesses (that go hand-in-hand with my strengths) and is patient with my failures and wanderings and distractions.  He guides me with love, always that pure love that doesn't have to resort to showing me his power because he has no need to prove it.  He is confident enough in his own omnipotence and feels no challenge when we question it. 

Before I had children of my own I remember when my neice screamed at my sister-in-law  "I HATE YOU!" I was shocked and horrified. Di calmly and lovingly wrapped her arms around Jodie and whispered "I know you hate me right now but I still love you."  I think this is what God does with us.  He loves us through it all.

That doesn't mean that he gives us everything we think we want.  It doesn't mean he doesn't let horrible things happen.  I think he even intentionally places roadblocks in our way sometimes to get us where we need to be.  I'm not saying the challenges he gives us don't seem extremely harsh.  I'm just saying his love is perfect and if we lean into it instead of away from it, he will hold us.  He will use whatever is going on to strengthen us or get us to the place we need to be.  That is not a punishment but a consequence.  It might be a consequence of some decision of our own or of someone else or even of society; no matter.  He will love us through it - holding us up if we will let him or standing right by our side if we try to turn away.

Dua is a prayer warrior and loves God with a faith and passion I can only dream about.  She was raised Catholic so she comes from a different perspective of this life-long Methodist.  It doesn't matter to me who is "right".  We all see God from where we are,  It's the only thing we can do.  Some day when we are with God we'll figure it all out until then, I will keep trying to do what God meant me to do, be what God meant for me to be and get closer to him daily.  Because  - God is love - and ♪♫ all ya need is love ♫♪

1 Corinthians 13 (The Message)

The Way of Love

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. ♥

Saturday, January 29, 2011

How does a baby so calm he never really cried become a man so passionate about God that he finds himself frequently (but somewhat reluctantly) in the limelight?

How does a boy who sang so off-key as a child (that we all laughed) become a beautifully-voiced singer and musician?

How does it happen that a child, so quiet that many people thought he couldn't speak, grows to the kind of man who speaks in front of a sanctuary full of people? (He won't use the pulpit and he won't call it a sermon; it's a "talk" :)
How does an unassuming young man, speaking softly and humbly, singing with passion and humility, reach the hearts of those who come searching for something of God?

 God really does work in mysterious ways.

Zeke ~ "Maybe we are supposed to get comfortable with being uncomfortable."

There are days when I am driving down and up and over these country roads on the way to work I feel as if I am driving right through a country calendar; the scenes are so beautiful!  This week there was a thick blanket of snow and all the tree branches had been sugar-frosted by the fog.  It was so beautiful it seemed surreal in the soft colors of a dawn sky.  Yesterday, fog again but the sun was trying to break through it!  Every day it is a new painting, sometimes with animals wandering or flying through, often frost or fog or sunshine or an awesomely spectacular sky.  I am so blessed to start my day like this!  Thank you, Father God!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Yesterday I spent the day volunteering at a Numana event to measure out beans, rice, soy and nutrient packets, bag them up and seal them into packages that will feed a nutritious meal to a starving family of 6.  Thoughout the day there were over 1,000 volunteers that came through working from 1 hour to all day.  People of all ages were able to help.  There were even young children who decorated the boxes with thier colorful artwork or patted the packets down flat for shipping.  There were those who finished their 5 shipping boxes in 35 minutes and some who took over an hour.  There were so many families that came to volunteer together and it really warmed my heart to see such a thing.  There were groups of young people who came, too.  Boy Scouts, Confirmation kids, a basketball team, and other groups of firends that came to be a part of the giving.  There was one high school boy from our church that showed up at 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM!  Everyone worked hard at it, yet went away happy and satisfied.  Our food is headed to Haiti through the Salvation Army.

The people from Numana trained us "Green Shirts" the night before.  Explaining the importance of making sure the ingredients are packaged correctly so each one has the right nutrients and size to ship properly.  But they also insisted we keep it fun and value each participant's work.  That was easy to do since everyone came with such a giving heart!  They played fun Caribbean music all day and banged a big gong to announce packing milestones.  It was a HUGE amount of work for Heather, who orgainzed the whole thing locally, but very well-run.

Check out the Numana website.  What a beautiful organization!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

As I drove home from work this evening, through the country on this perfect Autumn day, I spotted a white horse. He was saddled but riderless, tied to a hitching post in a little grassy spot in front of the local Mexican Restaurant in the small town I pass through. He calmly waited, among the cars and trucks, for his cowboy to finish his burritos and beans and head back to the ol' homestead.

...I love living in the country ♥