Thursday, June 25, 2009

Garden Bounty


Today was a good day in the garden. Tomatoes, peppers, basil, and okra. The heat is on here in Texas so the tomatoes will hunker down for a few weeks. Everything else will kick into high gear. I love plants like okra and basil that laugh at our long as we keep them watered that is.

We picked more blackberries.

I had a batch we picked a few days ago in the fridge. Together with today's harvest, I had enough to make 8 pints of blackberry preserves. They'll be yummy on biscuits or ice cream. It's been a few years since I made any kind of fruit preserve or jam. It was fun and fairly easy to do.


For the next little while, gardening means watering and keeping ahead of the weeds. Why is it that weeds don't seem to suffer from heat stress like my favored plants do?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Memoir Monday ~ Engagements

Kevin and Lisa

Since it's just become offcial that I'll be a mom-in-law in a few short months (more about that later), let's stroll down memory lane a bit considering our own engagements. Write about the day you got engaged. Or write about a romantic evening, trip, or event. A special date, perhaps....or a day that turned out to be very romantic in memory, but you didn't think so at the time.

Got any photos to put with your memoir story? If you are an artist, take a moment to sketch an image. What would a quilt block of your memory look like?

I hope you have a pleasant trip down Remember Lane.

An insistent and nasty infection kept me sluggish all last week, then a trip to an out of town wedding, so I didn't get as much done on my travel memoir or the blog as I planned. Hopefully, I'll post my travel piece by tonight.

Until then, muse upon your romantic memories. Happy writing!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


The day finally arrived.


After six months of thinking and planning, The Baseball Guy got on a plane. Seven weeks this summer, he and a friend will be interns for our missionary family in Ghent, Belgium.

Two airplanes, a train, a bus, and a walk later, they arrived safe and sound. Tired and hungry as only two teenage boys who've traveled for 20+ hours can be, I imagine.
Zack and Nathan

It is a mind-boggling thing to know your 'baby' is a quarter of the way around the planet....and he got there without a parental type accompanying him.

Maybe he is all grown up, after all.

If you are a praying person, please offer a prayer for their safety, their growth, and their ability to be a blessing to others this summer.

My house is very, very quiet.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Memoir Monday ~ Travel


We've been delving into lots of memories in the last few weeks. Sifting through photos for the Baseball guy's graduation was the trigger I think. He is the infant in the photo above. It is amazing to me how very quickly my sons grew from infants to taller-than-me men.

It is fun to hear my guys tell stories about our lives. Their perspective, their interpretations. To hear what made them laugh and what surprised them. We may not always agree on what exactly happened moment by moment, but it is fun to share family stories. Those experiences, those memories, and those stories tie us together. A unique bond.

I'd like to capture more of my memories in story form. We have tales which used to be told by The Pilot Guy's dad or my parents. Right now they are held in our heads, but I want them on paper to be enjoyed. Too many of my dad's stories died with him. The same with my mom.

For the next few weeks ~ a summer project, I'm initiating Memoir Monday. Each week will have a theme. Join me in writing a memory of the past, for the future. If you post your memoir on your blog, leave a link in the comments section so we can all enjoy. And not just your own memories....if you are headed to a family gathering of some sort this summer, take a notepad. Even better, take a video camera and a recorder. Be the story catcher in your family.

This week's theme is travel. Write about a trip or a vacation. Write about the first time you traveled by boat, or airplane, or ox cart. Write up a funny or scary or poignant memory of a place not your home. Foods, scents, sights...what sticks in your mind about a place?

Book Giveaway Winner!
The winner of the drawing for 'From the Ground Up' is Laughing Lioness.
Thanks to all who played the game!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ Daylilies

It's daylily time...










Don't forget to go to Sunday's post and sign up for the give away.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Book Giveaway

Who needs a book to read?

In keeping with my shiny new philosophy to not keep as many books in the house, I'm giving this one away.


"From the Ground Up-the story of a first garden" by Amy Stewart.

It's an enjoyable read, especially if you are a gardener or fantasize about being one. Writers will enjoy the smooth, easy style of the essays. Foodies will like the recipes included at the end of each chapter.

Leave a comment on this post to be included in the drawing. At the end of the week, I'll drop everyone's name in a hat and pull out a winner.

Friday, June 5, 2009



Birds of a feather flock together.

I'm a joiner.

One of the great pleasures in my life is to find like-minded folks to hang out with. Whatever I'm interested in, I like to find other people with whom to learn and share. Photography, writing, dog showing, quilting, homeschooling, and, most significantly, church, are all examples of groups I've had a kinship with. There are so many wonderful benefits from rubbing elbows with other individuals passionate about the same things you are.

In the last few months, it seems I've become 'unflocked.'

Like a pair of pants that are too loose or too tight, three specific groups I've been a part of for years no longer seem to fit me anymore. In some cases, I've changed. In others, the group has morphed.

The result is the same, however. I'm flying solo more often than not...and that's okay. I'm old enough (sigh) and experienced enough to realize God sometimes moves us from our cozy comfort spots into new areas. It's feeling a little like that for me. Each of these groups has been inspiring, encouraging, educational, motivating, uplifting, and just plain fun. This is simply a phase and a transition. This too shall pass. Some day soon I'll be volunteering to take on a roll that will consume me and be a benefit to others and I'll be right back in the middle of the flock. But, not today.

Kinda reminds me of root pruning. When a gardener decides to transplant a shrub, she often root prunes...that is, taking a shovel and cutting a circle around the plant along the line where she will eventually dig. The idea is to sever the plant from roots outside the circle and force the shrub to grow some new roots within the circle. A few months later, when the gardener actually digs up the plant, there will be more roots to make the move, insuring a better chance for survival.

While I don't feel lonely, exactly, I am intrigued by how other people are handling this. Some people that I thought were geninue friends, aren't. It seems I was a friend only while conveniently close or flying in formation. I gotta tell ya, I've bled a bit over this. The real, true friends have made themselves abundantly clear, too, and that's a comfort.

All this unflocking frees me up. Instead of pouring my efforts and energy into church programs (wonderful though they may be) or being an officer on the board of my writing group or evaluating curriculum with other homeschool moms, I'm going to spend time getting back to the basics. A direct relationship with God. A chance to write. An opportunity to work on my projects without committments to other people taking over my time.

It sounds selfish.

And it is to a certain extent.

So be it. I simply don't have the energy to change it at the moment. In fact, it may be that I'm supposed to be spending this time growing more roots inside the circle in preparation for something new on the horizon.

Kinda exciting, huh?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009



I've been so busy and distracted by the ending of school and graduation that I haven't spent much time being purely creative.

I've missed it.

Once while elbow deep in some aspect of those final days of schooling, I suddenly craved a little time with Daniel and Sarah, characters from the book I wrote last fall. I craved the opportunity to revisit their story. It stirred up a need to see how all my characters are doing. I've left too many of them in limbo for too long.

Soon, I told them (and myself.)

The last couple of days, I've spent hours at my sewing table. Curtains, a purse, --both without a pattern--and starting on a garden themed wall hanging.

I've written a wee bit.

The other day, The Pilot Guy and I indulged in some wondermous new glass for stained glass projects.

I feel much better. Much, much better.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ten Years Ago

Me in front of the Guild houses in the Grand Place, Brussels.

On this day, ten years ago, we landed in Brussels to begin our European adventure. The Pilot Guy's company had offices in Belgium and we finally took the opportunity to live overseas.

All of us crowded close to our airline windows as the jet flew low and slow over Brussels in it's final approach to the runway.

Incredibly green.


Puffy clouds.

It looked like an enchanted kingdom.

Excitement fought with jet lag as we found our little apartment on the fifth floor in Evere. Since there was not a scrap of toilet paper or food in the place, we made our first jaunt to the grocery store just a bit later.

If you've never lived in another country, you can't really imagine how overwhelming it can be to not be able to read the signs or understand the language flowing around you. Your brain peels out like tires on wet pavement trying to figure it all out. At least the French words looked like they ought to be words...the Flemish words simply looked like a scrambled word puzzle and made my head hurt. The cars were small and the architecture strange. I was terribly afraid of offending someone.

The grocery store was an overwhelming one. I think I was close to panicking that we wouldn't be able to feed the boys (age 8 and 14) that night. (Remember I'd just spent two weeks packing up our house, given away the dog and the cat, leased my horse, and made a trans-Atlantic flight...I was grocery shopping on sheer nerves.) Just as I think I was about to hit the panic button, I looked up and saw a sign.


Fish. I knew that French word meant fish. We'd studied up on some French before leaving and one of the words I'd learned was poisson. Suddenly, I knew we could do this. We could figure it out. I still have the receipt from that shopping expedition. Carrots, toilet paper, Frosted Flakes cereal, milk. The carrots would spoil our taste buds forever they were so good. The milk we didn't decode well and ended up with buttermilk. Our youngest was not amused the next morning when he poured it over his cereal, but we eventually figured it out. Within a couple of days, we learned we lived within a short walk of not one, but two, French bakeries. There is nothing that smells as good as a French bakery in the morning. Nothing.

My sons were super troopers during our adventure. They ate strange looking things in strange looking places. We never got used to the softly cooked egg in the middle of an authentic French pizza...but we learned to love of a lot of other foods and customs. They made friends with children at church who spoke Flemish.

We are so blessed to have had that time in Europe. During our stay, we began homeschooling. Certainly a life changing decision. We took the opportunity to travel extensively during The Pilot Guy's time off. Because of that adventure, my sons have toured Viking museums, boated down a Norwegian fjord, skied in the Alps and swum in the Mediterranean. We've walked the streets of Pompeii and climbed Hadrian's wall. We had crepes in Paris, gelatto in Italy, and warm waffles in Belgium. We made a profound 'pilgrimage' to the Isle of Barra, Scotland, where the family clan was founded a thousand years before. We toured museums, historical sites, art galleries, street markets, and grocery stores where ever we could. I fell hard in love with Italian pottery, rolling Italian countrysides, and Paris. We learned to count and be polite in a handful of languages.

The Pilot Guy flew to Finland, Greece, Poland, and Ireland, and everywhere inbetween. He eventually got to fly to Iceland, too. How many people do you know who've been to Iceland, much less piloted a plane there?

It was a blast. And I'm so very thankful to God for opening the doors for our family.

The Baseball Kid leaves in two weeks for a summer missionary internship in Ghent, Belgium. If we hadn't lived there, fallen so in love with the country and it's people, we would have never met those who are dear to us there. And he would not have had this opportunity.

It's interesting the directions our lives take.

Ten years. It seems like only a little while ago......

And I'd go again in a heartbeat.