Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blog Break Again

My real life is not in order and hasn't been for awhile. So farewell for a time, blog friends.

I'm also pulling away from Facebook, too, for a bit. If you want to communicate, then use email or the phone,

See you when me and my surrounds are more stable.

But first, let me leave you with a link to another blog I found that is hilarious, poignant, transparent, and well-written: It's Almost Naptime!

Finally Accepting Fall

Normally by the end of August I am ready for fall. This year, however, I dragged my seasonal feet, kicking and screaming that summer was over. Part of it was that I just love the pace of summer. Part of it was that I had to embrace a change of schooling that I had mixed feelings about. Part of it was that so many of these recent Maryland days and nights have felt warm enough to be called summery.

But now I think I've finally come to terms with the change of season. Don't get me wrong--this is my favorite season. That fact alone made me wonder why I was so reluctant to jump into the proverbial leaf pile with both feet. Guess I've just been in a funk .

Today I will take the first step toward acknowledging that Autumn is Here. Even though it's hot and humid out, and I see no changing leaf colors, I will stop by a local greenery for some mums. I might even purchase the stuff to make a wreath for my front door. I have no fall decorations left since I purged all my countrified stuff this past summer. Perhaps I'll hang my fall/winter valance back up at the naked sliding glass window. It's a rite of passage for curtains, after all.

Best of all, I will get a new 'do today. Or at least a shape-up of my last 'do, and my eyebrows waxed, both of which always put a spring in my step (and, I hope, not a "fall").

Truly it must be fall because I had my first hankering for oatmeal this morning. I went to make Briana's Baked Apple Oatmeal, but when I opened what I thought was a new canister of oats,
lo and behold, it was birdseed. I had totally forgotten I'd stored it there, so kept telling Paul and Sarah, "Whatever you do, don't buy oatmeal . I have a whole new container of it in the garage!"

So I made a Sock-it-to-Me cake instead. And later this evening I will make Provencal Soup for our ladies' soup-and-salad dinner tomorrow night. Just in case I get called in for jury duty tomorrow, I will have it ready to go when I get back.

{{Hugs}} to fall. Finally!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Feeling Lost in Midlife

Soon I'll be sharing notes from a conference called "Lost in the Middle," based on Paul Tripp's book of the same title. But first, a bit of journaling from the heart of a woman who feels, more often than not, lost in midlife and wondering who she is now that her wedding veil has long since yellowed and her lap is vacant of wiggly wee'uns.

My husband and I, who are in our 40s, thought we were maybe feeling a sense of "lostness" a few years ago when the oldest child was graduating from high school and his stair-step siblings were on the cusp. We could envision paying three college tuitions every year for a few years, but knew that it'd go by like a heard of zebras on the savannah--one quick blur of black and white. And then --then what?

But it was nothing like we've both felt lately, when the kids truly are (except for one) full-grown and seemingly independent and don't really need us and scarcely ask our input. It's not like they need "permission" as young adults and it's not like any of them (except the eight year old "bonus child") snuggle up to invent bedtime rhymes and read Little Visits with God.

Life has marched on, and our life as a couple is not all about being parents anymore. We never thought it was before, but I think we were mistaken. We now go on dates and often sit in silence because the conversation does not naturally default to the children. Sometimes we discuss them, but it's not like our world is our kids. We're not pinching pennies or worried about retirement. We have our health. I have my parents. (He lost both of his, sadly, in his twenties.). I try not to think of the reality that my folks will probably be "needing" us in ways that children don't want to be needed, because it's a sure sign we're not children anymore and haven't been for a long, long time.

I've gotta tell ya, it is an awkward feeling, this thing of midlife identity. I am no longer always known as "Ben's mom" (or Sarah's or Stephen's). I don't have to talk to their friends' moms in order for them to get together. They have keys and cars and phones and laptops; that's how life is. For the most part, they have their world (college classes, work, homework,friends, music). And we have our world. Except that ours feels strangely empty sometimes. Even when six people are here, it doesn't feel like we're on the same page, because the truth is, we're not. Our lives don't seem to intersect as much as parallel. I miss the old days. I want the snuggle time. I sometimes want to be called "Mommy" by a three-year-old. I want to hold one soft hand on either side of me when I cross the grocery store parking lot.

But then I think, I do like going to the grocery store without having to put anyone into a cart or worry if they're standing up in it about to do a free-fall to plastic surgery of the face. I don't miss the whiney stage one bit. In fact, when I hear a whiner, I just want to stuff a sock in the kid's mouth and tell the parent who is giving into it to wise up to the brat.

Potty training is something I'll never have to dread again. No one needs food cut up, and everyone can enjoy an hour and a half of adult conversation in a nice restaurant when we're all out together. We don't have to deal with high chairs and booster seats and packing a dozen extra things before a day out. No stroller, no Cheerios, no sippy cups, no scheduling our social lives around a baby's nap time. (Now we schedule around my nap time!)

I don't miss the dramatic meltdowns of a prima donna.

But I miss the little girl I had who would tell her baby dolls "little go-wi'll 'tories) like the little girl stories I would tell her at night.

I don't miss the fighting over who gets the windows and who has to sit in the middle.
But I love the rare occasions when all six of us get to ride in the same vehicle.

I don't miss getting up to fix everyone breakfast at the same time.
But I miss like crazy having all my family at the same table at least once a day. If it happens once a week now, I feel it's a treat. The treat is usually spelled WEWILLPAYFORYOURLUNCHAFTERCHURCHWANNACOME?

I could go on. I am feeling all sorts of strange and scary feelings deep in my heart right now, which I mostly push aside so that I don't shrivel up into a blubbering mass of protoplasm. Mostly I feel invisible. That's probably the worst of it. Feeling at 45 that I'm somewhere lost in the middle between a has-been and a wanna-be.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Autumn Tour of Homes: Oct 11th

Hey, fellow homemaking bloggers! How's about we do another tour of homes, this time for fall? It also gives me added incentive to have a date on the calendar and turn good intentions (ie decorating, cleaning, purging, weeding, whatever it takes for a good photo shoot) into reality.

So, since my family usually gets pumpkins by the second weekend in October, I am going to slate Monday, October 11th, for my virtual Autumn Tour of Homes. I've enjoyed doing this for Christmas and summer; looking forward to making an official date to post a tour for autumn.

If you'd like to join, chime in with a comment here and let us know to be watching your blog for coming attractions! Light those candles, bake those pies, hang those wreaths, or arrange those pumpkins...whatever you do to usher in fall.

Can't wait to have company in this venture!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How Do You Do..?

The rest of the question is "laundry, to your satisfaction?"

From a discussion at Small Notebook, it's clear that everyone has "their way" of doing laundry. Some think "everything gets done in cold" is fine. Cheapest way to go and soap does the trick. Others say, 'Depends on the load. Cold for colors, warm for permanent press, hot for whites." Still others think it doesn't matter, just spin the dial and get 'er done! Some people have an ironing day and do it all at once. Some say, "As needed. Hang it up and out of the way till I need to wear it." Others ask, "Iron? I take mine in a pill. That's about it."

Bleach, no bleach, Oxi-Clean, fragrance/fragrance-free? A load or two a day, just on the weekends, or a mountain on Monday? Seems everyone has "their" way and it works (or it doesn't and they desperately want a method that does).

Live out of baskets? Fold and put away dutifully in one smooth motion? Clear the bed to go to sleep? Oh, the list of "ways" seems hilariously endless.

And how about sorting? That seems a bit more split down the male/female aisle, but sometimes a woman has converted her man or vice versa. How about you? I'm really curious, laundry nerd that I am.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

If You Love Babies and Good Pictures...

She clearly has time on her hands, even with a baby, but I bet this blogger's little girl will appreciate the pictures someday. If this were a movie, the blog could just as well be called "While You Were Sleeping." Step out of reality and into fantasyland for just a sec right now; click on Mila's Daydreams. What do you think? I think the shots are adorable!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook 9.20.10

Inspired by A Simple Woman's Daybook ...

Outside my window...the darkness hides the untended weeds, brings the crickets out to sing, and sets the moon on display just above the distant trees.

I'm thinking of nixing all the sequential art history lessons I'd planned, the ones featuring art from 1848 to 1948. They involve a lot of set-up, explanation, and clean-up. Instead, how about I give the homeschooled kids a pile of yarn, Dixie cups, buttons, and duct tape every week and see if they can come up with 30 new things by May.

I am thankful for my pastor who told us to think of the most annoying person we know and look for ways to celebrate grace in his or her life. He said that the way to keep it from becoming cliche or formulaic is to believe it. Believe it. You don't have to make it up. It's there. Pray for them. Ask God to show it to you. The other thing the pastor was quick to point out is that you could well be the annoying person someone else is thinking of right now. I probably am. If so, shoot me an email celebrating God's grace in my life. Go ahead. It's there!

From the kitchen comes a strange combo scent of mahi-mahi on skewers, and egg rolls.

I'm wearing an avocado top, ankle-length black skirt, a big peridot ring that Barb gave me for my birthday, and a soft gold bracelet I found in the jewelry box I just organized.

I am creating a new plan for Thursday, having decided not to introduce that painter and painting I was originally going to discuss. The more I thought about the possibility that one of the students (or someone in their family) might curiously google other works of his, the more certain I became that it just wasn't right. It wasn't worth the risk for the sake of art history. Besides, my sample was pretty lame. So, back to the "drawing board" for this teacher. I believe we'll start with Claude Monet instead.
I am going to post pictures of our newly redecorated upstairs bathroom as soon as Sarah finds a few more necessities (towel bars and shower curtain she wants). I found the curtain I want, but it's $35 and that's too much.

I am reading... a bit of Genesis every day with Joel, some art history books and geography books, but those are school-oriented. I want something light and funny, and I want something else to make me cry hard and wake me up from this coma of comfortable Americana.

I am hoping...to try some fabulous new recipes now that fall is here and I'm in the mood for knock-'em-dead cooking. And by that I mean outrageously delectable, not surprisingly fatal.

I am hearing with more difficulty lately. Don't know if I'm losing my sense of hearing, or if more people are mumbling.

Around the house I am having more trouble keeping things tidy than I was in the summer. Putting two more adults into the mix means more dishes, books, clothes, towels, food, and other stuff. I love the people, but not the added stuff.

One of my favorite things is painting long nails red.

A few plans for the rest of week include more homeschooling, more physical therapy for Joel, teaching a lesson on Realism, going on a field trip in the Inner Harbor, and doing a 5K Run / 1 mile walk (ummm....I personally am doing the latter) to help fund a van for Lance, the son of a friend of mine . Lance has a driver's license but needs a specially-equipped vehicle . He has Muscular Dystrophy. When he was a teen, he went in for a spinal fusion and came out paralyzed from the waist down. If you're reading this and would like to donate toward this worthy cause, let me know. The walk is Saturday! I am trying to raise $400 on my own. Please help if you can.

A picture thought I am sharing... my oldest and youngest having an uproarious fun time. Joel was pretending he was bullriding, just a' slapping away at Ben's butt. Ben, who had just finished playing a round of rummy, couldn't "keep it together". He was laughing so hard, and so was I, which made me jiggle the camera, but the effect turned out pretty cool. The media center looks like it's on fire, doesn't it?

Sex and Geography: Hmmm?

This morning's geography assignment for my third grade son was to fill out a (fake) passport application. I told him to do that while I graded his math work.

Sitting beside me, he took out a pen and began filling out the form. He dutifully wrote his name, address, birthplace, birthdate, and then saw...

"SEX: M or F"

He gasped and covered his eyes.

"What's wrong?" I asked, a bit startled. He had buried his face in his left hand and pointed with his right index finger to the word "Sex".

"That!" he exclaimed with muffled mouth. "I've never been one of those!"

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Soup Shots

Fall says "soup" and soup says "comfort" and "comfort" says "aah."

I made this soup a little while back, before fall had fallen, and I decided to photograph it. Sadly, the pictures "fall" short of appetizing. The soup was good, which was what really mattered, but I'd love some feedback
on these photos. How can I improve my food photos?

To be fair, the meat was venison, which doesn't crumble "pretty" like beef, but I won't make excuses.

Don't worry about hurting my feelings. Just don't say it looks like throw-up, even though the second shot looks post-op to me!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ideal Job

I was telling my care group tonight that it's been somewhat of an epiphany to me that
I don't have to enjoy homeschooling. It's my job right now. And I actually have liked it this week.)

Somehow I --and it seems other women I know-- feel they have to like a job to even consider taking it, or they quit as soon as they can if the job isn't something they're fond of. I guess I'd bought the cultural lie that if I don't like it, it's not for me.

Well, guess what? This is really kind of funny to admit. Hello? How many people don't like their job but they stick with it because it pays the bills and feeds the family? And I don't just mean in this bad economy. I have been hearing women and men both complain about their jobs for the past 20 years. Just seems like women talk more about their feelings toward co-workers, whereas men refer to the workload or the pay not suiting them.

I think I'll try to start viewing my job as a homeschooler more like a man would from now on. But I will try not to complain about the load or the pay. They're both pretty light:) As for my co-workers, I love them all! Not that I see them much around here during the school day.

Just let me know if my manly viewpoint ends up with this chick wearing muscle shirts and
a moustache. I tend to take things a bit far.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

On the Eve of His Third Grade Year

I want to take time to journal tonight my perspective and feelings about starting homeschool with Joel tomorrow. No, it's not his first year ever doing this; kindergarten was. The following two years we put him in our little Christian school for reasons we sensed were either from God or okay with God. By "okay with God" I don't mean to sound casual, but I mean I don't think God sets in stone words like, "Thou shalt send your child to this school or that school or home school." Rather, he gives us choices and confirmations of those choices, and grace to make changes or accept the imperfections that ultimately accompany any choice in this fallen world.

Normally by mid-August I am starting to feel excited to school, and by late August ready to buy school supplies, organize the bookcases, plan out my year in general and my first few weeks in detail. This year none of that has appealed to me. Tonight I confess we have bought no new supplies; we either have plenty of everything or I'll pick it up when I discover the need. I just have no desire to buy supplies for the sake of "back to school." I have not completely dealt with the school bookcase in the kitchen. Maybe tonight I'll get a burst of energy? In fact, I don't even have all of my books from Amazon. A backorder is really holding things up, but I don't really care. We have the essentials. As for the year plan, I know where we're headed, but I bought a curriculum that makes weekly planning a cinch. All I have to do is write in page numbers for some of the subjects. No trying to figure out how many pages of geography or science each week; someone else has done the thinking and the planning, and for that I think our money for a "packaged curriculum" was well spent. I'm okay with tweaking; I'm not okay with reinventing the proverbial wheel in the name of having a custom curriculum for my child. Been there, done that.

The most accurate feeling I can describe right now is mild depression. I'm neither gung-ho nor sad, neither chomping-at-the-bit nor dragging my heels. I think I've grieved sufficiently for the job I had and loved at the school. I do believe God has called us to homeschool this year. But my heart is just not in it.

Good advice to heed is "Do the actions, and the feelings will follow." That has helped me in a number of practical ways. When I don't "feel like" cleaning but know I must, I pull out the Pine-Sol and wipe down some counters. The smells get my Inner Cleaning Lady revved up. When I don't feel like cooking dinner, I often have to flip through pictures in cookbooks to get me going. And now, since I don't feel like starting homeschool, I will just launch in tomorrow, subject by subject, praying first and trusting God's faithfulness to bring joy to my heart so that school will be a pleasure, and not simply a duty.

I am choosing to pray a benediction, actually, on the eve of this year my baby starts third grade.

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that ye ask or even think, according the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"To Old Friends, Great Memories, and New Adventures"

Darin used to have a
dark brown Welsh
pony named Chocolate.
That pony had a strong
gait and a weak bladder.
Seems it always stopped
to pee whenever it was my
turn to ride. One time he
took off galloping back to
the barn with my sister
on his back. She had to
crouch down on his neck
to avoid being scraped by
tree limbs. But despite his
shortcomings, Chocolate was
one of our best friends. So was

A few classmates. Oh-so-70s, huh?

Brenda, Barb, and I spent
a couple hours flipping
through elementary school
yearbooks. Then we raised
a toast.

The parsonage, my
favorite girlhood home.

The carport out back,
flanked by a garage
and chicken coop. We
played house for hours
and hours.
Tires for furniture.
Boxes for appliances.
Towels for curtains.
(I always tried
to be the mom, but people
didn't like my bossiness.
Some things never change.)

Mrs. Grose,
my precious third
grade teacher.
Under her picture, "'Barbie"
as she was called.

Snippets of conversation:
"Whatever happened to

"Oh, he's a pilot now."

"Look at her. So cute! I bet she got into modeling. "

"I tried it, but decided the
money was better as a jockey."

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Day I Met My Blogging Friend, Laurie

After a couple of years of blogging, emailing, and getting to know each other on
Facebook, I finally got to meet my friend Laurie. Providentially she lives within an hour of my lifelong friend, Barb, with whom I got to spend an entire week.

It's a strange, sweet, giddy, surrealistic feeling to meet in person someone you've only met online. And when you're sisters in Christ, what could be better? That first glimpse of someone you've only seen in pictures is somewhat like meeting a celebrity. When Barb pulled into the driveway, there was Mike. It was weird parking in front of the shed I'd seen in pictures. I can't explain it. Out of body experience?

Anyway, Laurie and I hit it off immediately as we chatted at her kitchen bar. After a bit, we ate a humongous lunch they'd prepared, and then toured Lindsborg, and drove out to Coronado Heights and surrounding places in the Smoky Hills.

Christine, her daughter, did an amazing job in the kitchen to put out a smorgasbord for us (when all we were expecting was a sandwich and a glass of tea!). Swedish meatballs with cherry topping ( a new combo for me, and very yum); creamed corn, sweet pickled cucumbers, herbed potatoes, grape tomatoes, flatbread and Havarti and Colby cheeses; homegrown beets, and I'm sure some foods I'm forgetting at the moment. What a treat to "go international" in central Kansas!

Barb took a jar of the sandhill plum jelly we'd made beforehand, which Laurie promptly heaped upon her slice of buttered bread!

Dessert: Swedish cheesecake called ostkaka, topped with lingonberries. It's really more like rice pudding than cheesecake .Delicious!

As if that wasn't enough ...

Laurie gave me a huge wicker basket filled with a gazillion thoughtful gifts. She truly has the knack for creative and personal expression. Can you see the way the big Z + the "0" (transfat) + "Anna's" cookie brand spells out my name? What's more, she gave me Swedish coffee, a Dala horse mug, several postcards by Swedish artist Birger Sandsen *who lived in KS), plus some Swedish candy, a KU shopping bag (my parents' alma mater so I'll pass the treasure on to them), sketch pads, a journal, gold writing pen (because of my penchant), and other little goodies. I was undone by her generosity! So much thought, time and love went into this gift and I love it. Thank you, Laurie, for everything! I feel so loved!
What a day that was.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Spirea Shenanigans

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Zoanna who had an ornery streak to her. She enjoyed nothing quite as much as having fun breaking rules without getting caught. And she was the preacher's daughter. She and her sister, Rachel, along with their partners-in-crime, Brenda,Barbie, and Cherie, found a magnetic appeal in one particular activity. Each Sunday afternoon, week after summer week, as their preacher daddy and their dear mommy napped after church, those girls jumped off old Mrs. Fair's porch into her spirea bushes. They jumped and they jumped and they jumped.

Where did they get their energy? Surely it wasn't from the pre-jump refreshments-- Mrs. Fair's sugarless oatmeal cookies , which had to be drunk politely with lukewarm powdered milk. Zoanna and her cronies endured that cross for the joy that was set before them.

The girls thought Mrs. Fair must not only have been old, but deaf and blind as well, for they handedly crushed the flora (and probably fauna) by literal leaps and bounds. Oblivious to her own arms as scratched and red as any cat-fight victim's, Zoanna thought she was always getting away with foolhardiness, as long as someone kept a lookout for the Sleeping Pa and No-Nonsense Ma. That's the thinking of a third grader.

They could see their house through these trees. And if the Reverend's children were ever caught misbehaving in that tiny little town, their doom would be delivered at the speed of Kansas wind.

Thirty-eight years later, on a September day in 2010,
Zoanna, Barbie, and Brenda decided it was high time for a Reunion of the Renegades. So they got together from miles apart, descended on their childhood stomping ground (which is still Barbie's stomping ground) and rapped on the old Victorian door. Twice. No one answered. Coast was clear. Do they dare? How about it? For old times' sake.

While scarcely believing the truth of it, they quickly and collectively realized they had grown up, as most girls do. But they certainly had not outgrown their mischievous ways. They had just learned to pretend a little better.

In their memories, those spirea bushes were thick and lush and perfectly capable of guaranteeing a safe landing. Prickly, but safe. The passage of time, however, had somehow made those bushes much thinner, and the girls themselves much thicker. To their credit, those girls had acquired between them perhaps enough wisdom to fill a donut, and thus opted not to perform the full-on reenactment called Spirea Shenanigans.

More Kansas Memories: Mr. & Mrs. Long

This lady, Lois Long, is special to me because she hosted a Bible club for kids in her home for a season. (I don't remember how long it lasted.) It was for boys and girls. Barb and I went faithfully each week, but Brenda doesn't remember having gone.(She probably had piano lessons or something going on at the same time or she would have been there.)

Mrs. Long is still the same joyful, enthusiastic, godly "older woman" (probably in her 80s). I snapped the shot of her on the sofa when she wasn't paying attention; I adored the heap of Bibles and study helps and papers that served as proof we'd caught her in the middle of doing something she loves to do every day. I asked her what she was studying and she replied, "Ezekiel and John. The ladies in my group just finished Revelation and Daniel--they like all that "exciting" stuff, you know, but they need more...uh--"

"Meat?" I said.

"Meat! Yes, that's it!" she chuckled. I told her I'm reading Ezekiel now also, and it's one of the hardest books for me to get through, let alone really understand, except that God shows in the first 30-some chapters that He is the Lord because of His judgment, and I'm just now getting to the part where He is promising to be the shepherd of Israel and they will know Him by his merciful leading.

In the back of my mind, I was hoping that Mrs. Long and her husband, Paul (an avid birdwatcher and writer) would pray a blessing at the end of our all-too-brief meeting. He did. It really touched me to witness the steadfastness of this God-fearing couple after all these decades. With tears in my eyes, I hugged Mrs. Long tightly and thanked her for being a wonderful influence in my young life. I wanted her to know that her love and teaching (and lemonade) were a significant part of my spiritual growth.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Me in Third Grade

My mug shot in the middle.

Meeting Laurie

Laurie is a blogging friend I've had for a couple of years now. She lives in Kansas not terribly far from my friend Barb. For a sneak preview of our first meeting, go to her post here.

I have some post-holiday catch-up to do now, but when I get another chance, I'll blog my memories.

I Met Rachel in Real Life !

You can go here to meet Rachel online, but I had the rare privilege of meeting this lovely, vibrant woman in person. I couldn't help but notice the symbolism of our first rendezvous spot: Baggage Claim. But that's a whole 'nother blog post.

I intentionally chose to fly through DFW in order to meet Rachel. I could have gone through Atlanta, Chicago, or Memphis on layovers, but I had a hunch that Rachel would "put her apron on" in hospitality, even if it meant driving through the always-inconvenient maze of traffic near and around an airport.

Good thing we had cell phones, because yesterday morning the email I got from Orbitz said the flight was arriving at Gate A36. I forwarded it to her. Just before landing, however, the attendant announced that we were pulling into Gate C19. We're talking BIG difference here, because it's a 29-mile long airport (a fact I read on board) that means walking is only for those who 1) love it and 2)have nothing but a water bottle in hand and 3) have three hours to kill between flights. Those criteria did not apply to me.

But by the grace of God and modern technology, we found each other (Rachel had to leave terminal A and drive to C--think: taxi thru Manhattan). My gait was a quick trot from C19 to 15. The first thing on my mind was the bathroom, second meeting her (sorry, Rachel, I have my priorities) and third: food. I'd last eaten at 8 a.m. and was thinking she was bringing sandwiches. But I think I had mentioned McDonald's and that I'd take care of it? Whatever. All I know is that the talk time was well worth the sacrifice of lunch. Besides, do I LOOK like I could stand to miss a meal? (Don't answer that out loud.) But I should have at least glanced in the mirror and put on some lipstick. Oh well. "It is what it is."

Rachel is even prettier in real life than in pictures. She is funny, a great listener, a good storyteller, and just as humble as she is honest. I love that about her. She is finding a new gift in public speaking that she admits she has "not gone looking for," but I reminded her of the scripture that says "a man's gifts make room for him." I'm fairly sure that goes for woman, too. She'll be speaking in Maryland soon at a women's retreat that I'd love to invite myself to, not that I need a retreat at the moment (I just had one in Kansas!) but to stretch our 37 minutes into a whole weekend, for starters.

Rachel smelled nice, too. I would have liked to spritz on some of my favorite perfume, Mediterranean Breeze, because I do wonder if I smelled like the after-sausage-and-eggs "wind turbulence" created by the guy in the seat behind me (and in front of me, and beside me). Oy! I bet not even Toto passed that kind of gas on the Yellow Brick Road.

If you ever have the chance to meet Rachel, or any blogger you feel kindred spirits with, do it. Make it happen if you have a choice of airports. Baggage Claim isn't the most glamorous of backdrops, but this I guarantee: standing there with a stranger-turned-friend makes your load feel just a little lighter.

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You

A trip to Kansas for the past week has provided me "oodles and skads" of blog posts and pictures. My lifelong friend, Barb, put me up (put up with me) for eight days and seven nights. We had a grand time reminiscing on our youth and innocence. (Or just youth.)

I got to meet two other bloggers, Laurie and Rachel, on my journey. New memories and new friends who didn't seem new because of this delightful thing called cyberspace. You just sometimes find kindred spirit long before you meet face-to-face.

Today, though, I must put the plains behind me and start scaling the mountains ahead. I see Mt. Laundry, Mt. No Groceries, Mt. Bedroom Cleaning, Mt. School Prep....

But I also have Mt. Great News. My husband, along with Sarah and Steve, took on the kids' bathroom as a project and transformed it while I was gone. New sink, cabinet, mirror, light fixture, and paint. Pictures of that also coming soon to a blog near you.