Monday, December 29, 2014

The Real Meat of Christmas

If you read last week's blog on our exotic Christmas meat contest, you're probably waiting with bated breath to learn the winner.  Let me first tell you the entries.  There were three appetizers:  wild boar sausage with dijon mustard, rabbit/rattlesnake sausage with Sriracha, and teriyaki marinated bison skewers.   For the main course we enjoyed yak meatballs, seared reindeer with cherry sauce, and a dry ham I had overcooked, but not overlooked for the non-exotic eater types.  In the end, everyone tasted everything and laughter reigned!  The vote was cast and the American Bison won by a landslide.  ("Oh, give me a home where the bison roam" would be more correct words to the song, since buffalo are only Asian and African.)  Perhaps it wasn't as exotic as the others, but the taste far surpassed the offbeat taste of the rarer forms of meat.  Certainly rattlesnake and rabbit are exotic as well as common.  Coming in a distant second was reindeer.  It must be a sin to eat Rudolph on Christmas!

The best moment of the day came, however, when my twelve-year-old grandson with a voice like an angel sang Happy Birthday, Jesus (by Carol Cymbala) as our prayer before dinner.    A Happy and Healthy New Year to you all!




Monday, December 15, 2014

Merry Exotic Christmas

I have a weird family, but don't we all?  For several years now on Christmas day at my house, we've had a contest.  Whoever brings the best chili or bacon dish or side dish or dessert wins a prize.  We have a blind taste test and vote by secret ballots.  Jessica (niece) usually wins, but that's because she's a great cook overall.  My son gives it his all, too, but he lost the coffee-in-anything contest and his North Carolina 'greens' side dish left something to be desired.  And how can bacon ever go wrong, even if it's in ice cream?  I usually cook the main course meat and that has never been an entry, but this year it will be.  Everyone is asked to bring an exotic meat for us to sample and our votes will be cast.  Already we have complaints coming from all participants.  One won't taste it unless she knows what it is.  Several are complaining that it's not tradition and where is the turkey or marinated pork tenderloin or that fantastic prime rib we had one year?  I can tell already it's going to be a fun day!  I'll keep you posted after Christmas on what folks brought and who wins the prize. 


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

On Vacation No More

This blog has gone on vacation, or is on sick leave.  Or perhaps it merely suffers from neglect. 

“Oh, no,” Judy and I lamented.  “Who shall write first?”  We each have been leading ordinary, hum-drum lives, albeit packed-to-the-top and over-flowing.  Satisfying and enervating but perhaps not exciting for anyone else.

I would stop right there, perhaps should (laughter).  However, this week I am thinking about writing again, for my first-draft manuscript is calling me to fix some things, add some things, scratch out many things.  It’s a dangerous time for a young (not in years but in output) writer. 

Also this week, I have been reading Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life.  Now here is writing worth cogitating over, rearranging brain cells for.  I am awed by Annie’s perspicuity (ordinary words won’t describe her). However, in the midst of her clarity, her incredibly complex strings of words gather meaning after meaning as they wend their way across the sky. Some of them tumble into the recesses of my mind (which should have a bigger reservoir than it has).  When they finally hit bottom they  acquire a new and tantalizing essence and even three whole days later I feel as if I’m drowning in them.

I can’t write like Annie at all, at all.

I wanted to give you a sampling of Annie’s writing but the sample turned into paragraphs, then sections, then chapters, and pretty soon I would have copied the whole book.  So, to whet your appetite I have keyed in the first paragraph of the book and hope you’ll run right out to Amazon (I use something archaic:  the nearby library) to order it.

When you write, you lay out a line of words.  The line of words is a miner’s pick, a woodcarver’s gouge, a surgeon’s probe.  You wield it, and it digs a path you follow.  Soon you find yourself deep in new territory.  Is it a dead end, or have you located the real subject:  You will know tomorrow, or this time next year…. You make the path boldly and follow it fearfully….

This much I understand:  you never know what will happen when you write.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


In order to maintain a certain amount of excitement engendered by Judy's son's Colorado Trail hike, I should be able to record some equally fantastic feat.  I can't.  It's not that I've been doing nothing, it's that I've been doing ordinary things.  I would like to campaign for ordinary.  Five cheers for ordinary here.

(Perhaps ordinary means extra-ordinary.  Sometimes.  If one is extremely grateful for ordinary.)

If you're ordinary you can smell the flowers.

If you're ordinary you can paint your kitchen green.

If you're ordinary you can tackle your pile of books.

If you're ordinary you can eat a piece of pie.

If you're ordinary your children can come visit you, AND you can take them to see Rosie the tarantula.
Hazel wanted to hold Rosie, Emory did not.
Back to North Carolina they went.  Sadness here.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

First Car, Last State

If you've read our book, you know that I (Judy) have visited every state in the union with the exception of one.  Michigan!  This summer we drove the complete Lake Michigan Circle Tour...900 miles plus from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, up through Green Bay, over to Sault Ste. Marie, down to Mackinac Island, on to Traverse City, then to Holland and Chicago and back to Milwaukee.  I took pictures galore, of lighthouses (Michigan has more than any other state), Sleeping Bear Dunes and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (painted by God with eons, not brushes), and a covered bridge.  We visited a shopping center/restaurant/condo village that we found later to be the old state insane asylum.  We felt the ice cold water of several lakes, breathed in the uniqueness of a place where no cars, only bicycles and horse drawn carriages are allowed, and drove through rainstorms so furious even the windshield wipers couldn't keep up!  (The loudest clap of thunder and flash of lightning was when I was in a little wooden outhouse!) But would you believe my favorite picture of all was that of these wonderfully rusted, has-been Renault Dauphines?  My first car!  How I loved that car.  And do you know what?  Those cars reminded me of ME!  Just plain old with defective parts, unrecognizable chassis, dimming headlights and seat cushion stuffing nearly gone, yet to me, a beautiful car still.  We may not always be who we were, but we'll always be who we are.
Just like me

Painted Rocks...the copper in the rock same color as the water

Former insane asylum

The Holland Harbor Light, known as Big Red
A beautiful home on Macinac Island

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Gift

Our son is truly through hiking now.  His thru-hike of 485 miles on the Colorado Trail was accomplished in 26 average of 19.4 miles a day!  Amazing!  His dad and I were his crew throughout and what a thrill it was to find him at the designated trailheads every time.  My fears of his being mauled by a bear, attacked by a pack of coyotes or being torn apart by wild dogs turned out to be unfounded.  In the end, the only dangers he encountered were biting mosquitoes, pesky flies and a charging cow.

Now that we're both in our 70's, how many more chances will we have to care for our son or daughter?  Soon it might be their turn to care for us.  Maybe it's a privilege either way.  Thanks, God (and Scott),  for this amazing gift.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Night at the Bordello

        That's where we are Silverton, Colorado in an old Victorian bordello built in 1907, now newly refurbished with iron bedsteads, antique china and Godey prints hanging from rose colored walls.  After Frisco, we met our son in Salida, Lake City, and now Silverton.  He has only 75 miles to go to Durango and the end of the 485 mile Colorado Trail.  Attempting to average 25 miles a day for the next three days, he astounds me with his tenacity, endurance and fortitude.  Because he's lost so much weight, his wife Robyn commented on a photo we emailed her, "There's nothing left but beard!"

What a lesson he teaches me.  Keep on keepin' matter what!  You, too, faithful reader.

A Southern Adventure

Judy and Don are still following their hiker son along the Colorado Trail.  Not to be outdone, Richard and I flew east to heat and humidity and new sights.  Here is a photo montage for you:

First, view our two dear granddaughters in North Carolina,

 eating ice cream with their parents at a Brevard Music Center concert on the lawn.

 I must always visit the magical fairyland of the Biltmore,

where even the insects pose.

Then on we drove to Atlanta where the purple and red and pink and white crepe myrtle blooms all summer,

 strange things happen to flora at the  Botanical Gardens,

and a Colorado Springs artist Dale Chihuly contributes his glass sculpture to the fountain (he has no idea we snuck in as well). At least Richard says it's Dale's work.  If I've led you on, I apologize!

We finished with a sobering time at the Martin Luther King exhibit.  This is where he was born. Don't miss the Ebenezer Baptist Church and the history center just across the street.
I've heard that a picture is worth 1000 words...much easier on the eye than multitudinous print, I think.  Enjoy, yuall!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Not 'through hiking' (words I will be happy to hear), but that won't be for another two plus weeks.  My former marathon-national-champion-son is now a hiker encountering weather he never planned on for the middle of July...monsoon season in the Rockies arrived early this year.  Sunshine gone by noon, dark billowing clouds heavy with moisture, lightning, rain, hail and cold have plagued him the last week.  River crossings through fast rushing water, yet scenery so breathtaking even non-believing mortals would be given pause.  The San Juan's loom ahead and more tales to be told next week.  I can't wait!   Psalm 148:7-10 This post from Judy again.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Scott's Peregrination

After 7 days and over 120 miles, who looks the worse for wear?  My son's trip over the Colorado Trail is killing me!  

We met him Sunday morning in Copper Mountain and drove to nearby Frisco so he could have a good night's sleep on a real mattress and re-supply food and whatever else necessary for this long 500 mile journey in the Rocky Mountains.  He was exhausted and dehydrated, but gratified.  After a well deserved breakfast of eggs, sausage, challah french toast and cups and cups of hot coffee on the Bread and Salt patio, we found a darling bed and breakfast hotel dating from 1885 and moved into a small but cozy old fashioned room, decorated in flowered and striped wallpaper, antique furniture and old quilts.  He told us stories of thunderstorms, wind and lightning.  Mosquitoes, deer, elk and big horn sheep.  He slept the afternoon away, regaining strength for the next three-quarters of his expedition.  Monday morning after another hearty breakfast, we bid him God-speed until we meet him in another 8 or 9 days. 

I'm a mother...I cried again as he walked up the trail and out of sight.  I'll keep you posted.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Hiking the Colorado Trail

Last Sunday, I heard two sermons.  What are the chances they'd be on the very same subject?  Faith.  Real faith, as though you really trusted that God is who he says he is and will do what he says he'd do.  Hold us in his arms, carry us when we can no longer walk, hide us under the shadow of his wings.  This week my son arrives from North Carolina and he plans on walking alone the whole 485 miles of the Colorado Trail.  He's 44 and looks like either a mountain man or a homeless person, I can't decide which.  As a mother, I worry and fret about all the things that might happen...he could get West Nile disease from the mosquitoes, be mauled by a bear, trip over a log and break his leg, get struck by lightning.  Leave his son father-less and his mother son-less.  
Then I heard in those sermons:  get out of the driver's seat or God can't take the wheel.  You can't trust and worry at the same time.   If you really trusted, you would be at peace.   Choose peace in every circumstance.  Nothing can happen to you outside the permissive will of God.  How I needed to hear those things again!  The next five weeks will be easier now as I pray and rest in these promises.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Every Year Miracle

Every year I take a picture of my catalpa tree
     A few petunias snuck in
        (My mother says all pictures need a bit of red)

The scent heavenly
    Blossoms orchid-like
        (Heretically. I like them better than orchids)

Our beauty-loving God created these perfect flowers
    And others all over the world
        (Even the ones no one sees but Him)

Beyond words, overwhelming

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014


Those of you who observe the church calendar know yesterday was Pentecost Sunday.  It is the day marked in Acts 2, fifty days after Christ's ascension, when the Holy Spirit descended upon and infilled the disciples, marking the grand entrance of our Comforter, Helper, Guide, and Powerful Person of the Trinity.

When we entered for worship yesterday, we were overwhelmed by the art hung from the sanctuary ceiling:  a moving portrayal of the beauty and presence of the Holy Spirit. At one point in time a gentle breeze wafted the fabric, for me the utter wind of the Spirit.  What a celebratory morning with anthems, scripture, homily, communion, and last, a magnificent organ postlude on "Crown Imperial," a fitting title for Pentecost.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Prayer For All Times

This is a quote from Gene Stratton-Porter's A Girl of the Limberlost:

"To the extent of my brain power I realize Your presence, and all it is in me to comprehend of Your power.  Help me to learn, even this late, the lessons of Your wonderful creations.  Help me to unshackle and expand my soul to the fullest realization of Your wonders.  Almighty God, make me bigger, make me broader!"

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Book to Treasure

I say “Fie” on the present-day novels that have the reader wallow, descend with the author to lives of depravity, unhealthy introspection, obscure meanings, four letter words, explicit sex, and the worst scraping of the barrel:  hopelessness.  I say “Fie” because I have just been treated, elevated, gratified, and raised to beauty by an old novel loaned to me by Judy, my fellow author and dear friend. 

This novel I hold in my hands was written by a woman whose literary sisters and brothers might be L.M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Jean Webster, Harold Bell Wright, and others...please contribute to this list!  This novel, The Keeper of the Bees, might be fairly called a sleeper in Gene Stratton-Porter’s long list of accomplishments.  Not to be found in the library, not a free iBook, not in my own personal pile stacked high with many of her books, dog-eared from rereading.  In this book I have found death to be beautiful, life to be treasured, honesty and care for others to be valued, characters to emulate, wry laughter to spice my day.  I’ve found the things I like best about a book:  an enthralling mystery, the captivating beauty of nature, a belief in God that wafts in enough places to pin everything together, and to cap it all off, the giant four letter word that today’s novelists are afraid to touch with a ten-foot pole:  Hope.

Search on with me, oh readers, who desire the best in life.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Celtic Blessing

If minds had shelves, mine would have several, freshly stuffed, with Celtic blessings. Here is one for today.

I am bending my knee
In the eye of the Father who created me,
In the eye of the Son who purchased me,
In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me,
   In friendship and affection.
Through Thine own Anointed One, O God,
Bestow upon us fullness in our need,
   Love towards God,
   The affection of God,
   The smile of God,
   The fear of God,
   And the will of God
To do in the world of the Three....

Older with Grace

Today I saw an elderly man crossing the street pushing his shiny red
walker, stepping out into traffic as if he believed the cars would
stop.  They did...this time.  I imagined him as a young man in a shiny
red sports car, driving with confidence, top down, defying the wind
and weather, taking chances he probably shouldn't have, but enjoying
life to the full.  I have a friend, not so old, who now walks with a
cane, back bent with osteoporosis, a woman who in her younger years
had a busy life with children and a career, never imagining this day
would come so soon.  I guess we can't take anything for granted, for
this day may come to us all.  At 70, it may come to me sooner than to
you, faithful reader.   Don't forget we older people weren't always
the way we are now.  Remember us the way we used to be and shower us
with patience.  Even though we're slower responding and recollecting,
we're still fast at reminiscing!   And don't call us Seniors unless
there's a hefty discount to go with it!   My personal calling card
might read:  Silver-Haired Woman of Wisdom.  Have advice, will
 Here's to growing older with grace and courage!   :-)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Growing Up

I've decided it's time.  Now that I'm 70, I've been reflecting on
entries made in my old journals.  Come to find out my thoughts and
questions haven't changed much through the years.  I'm stuck.  Stuck
asking the same questions over and over, stuck in my habits, actions
and expectations.  That is not a good thing!  I should be growing,
changing, making progress.  Maturing.  But it seems to be one step
forward and ninety-nine steps right back to where I started.  I don't
learn a thing!  My beloved children, now forty-one and forty-four are
more wise in their thinking than I am.  My daughter writes that God
doesn't disappoint us, only life's circumstances do.  Having been
turned down for a barista job a few months ago and now seeing the help-
wanted ad in the paper again, she says, "If only they had hired
someone not qualified, but dependable, I'd have learned what there was
to learn and they wouldn't be looking for help so soon!"   My son
writes of 'the comforts of decay' and the 'beloved ailments of the
elderly.'  He remarks that 'runners run to cope with life's
uncertainties and to make sense of the senseless.' 

I'd been thinking about all this before our sermon on Sunday.  Then it
hit me right between the eyes.  Forgetting what's behind, pressing on,
eating solid food instead of Similac.  There was a statement at the
bottom of the sermon notes asking what God is challenging me to do in
this area.  The answer was loud and clear:  Grow up, Judy.  Replace
doubt with trust once and for all.  I'm still the light for your path
and I'll be hiding you in the palm of my hand.  The choice is yours.  
The results are mine.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mountain Fox

My mountain friend sent me this picture.  She feeds her fox friends from her fingers.  How different our viewpoints!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


We thought those darling baby foxes, the ones who wrecked my bushes and stole garden gloves and generally created havoc, had grown up, traveled to Longmont, forgotten us.  Not so.  Recently two of them (I'm sure they are the same ones because they nodded amicably to me) curled up in my side yard for long naps.  And yesterday one curled up under my Chinese cherry bush, right outside my study window.  Red and bushy tailed, and I know if I could touch him, he'd be soft as butter.  But what if he is a she and I have to face six more darling baby foxes, the ones....

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Journal entry: April 4, 1987

Yes, indeed. 1987. I think this is just as true today as it was then. What do you think? 

I feel UGLY today. When I'm having an ugly day, do others see me the
way I see myself? Do they see the clothes I'm wearing make my face
look like a jaundiced map of China? Are they aware that my
fingernails haven't been filed, my nail polish is three weeks old and
I forgot my deodorant this morning? Are they conscious of the fact
that even the nice hot shower, mega dose of mascara and bright red
lipstick haven't helped? Do they realize I've been letting my hair
grow out for five months and I've resembled the flying nun when it's
down or a skinned onion when it's up in a ponytail? Does everyone
observe these things? Now that I'm having more than one UGLY day a
week, four days ago I had my hair cut and layered.

No one noticed.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Time to Reflect on the New Year

It's the last day of January already! Here, it's cold and snowy, as
it is just about everywhere. The Flatirons outside my window are
shrouded in fog and rime clings thickly to the trees. Did you make
any resolutions thirty-one days ago? Did you resolve to be kinder and
more patient or to eat healthier or not to spend money you don't
have? I resolved to not resolve, not to make self-imposed rules I
couldn't keep. I decided to read and pray the Psalms most days, copy
a page or two for my new writing project when I could, and to let my
hair grow to my knees so when summer finally comes, I'll have a long
gray ponytail and become a true Boulderite! I like the no rule part
best. I'll probably get my hair cut tomorrow.

Let's face is a struggle. Worries and problems abound in
everyones life. Psalm 16:8 says: I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. See? I'm only on
Psalm 16! Last year I would have thought I had to be on Psalm for each day of the month. But this year I'm going slower,
savoring the words without my own rules to drive me crazy. Psalm
16:11 says: Show me the way of life and grant me the joy of your
presence. Selah!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Lord is the shade on your right hand

This morning the above words from Psalm 121 fairly leapt out at me, the image so clear that I glanced immediately to my right to see the shade; I almost thought I could.  Often what I read in the morning is gone by mid-day, but now, three hours later, I am still thinking, seeing, breathing the certainty that the Psalmist put those words down for me, for me.

If my God is shading me, he is not very far away at all.  In fact, he is right here beside me, ready to catch me if I fall, ready to protect me, ready to give me comfort, ready, with the touch of his hand, to keep me from saying something hurtful.  His presence here, with me, for always.  It’s another of those thin places in my day:  when the reality of the limitless nudges, even pushes over on its heels, my own flawed vision of the same.  Move over, child: here comes the actual, the powerful, the loving, the eternal.

This is Sunday:  don’t you need a little God-breathed thin place?