Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Sitting on the deck on a cool Saturday morning. Listening to the drone of the lawn mower as Joe mows the front lawn -- love the sweet smell of freshly cut grass! Also listening to a variety of bird songs & the occassional bark of a neighbors' dog.

Watched a hawk circling overhead. What would it be like to drift along, high above the world, on currents of air?

I've seen many other birds from my perch on our deck as well -- two little chickadees, flitting from branch to branch in the pine trees. A fat robin, sitting for a brief moment on Brenda's fence. A blue jay, just passing through. A crow in our neighbors' yard, looking for breakfast.

Joe found an abandoned birds' nest in the acuba bush -- a carefully woven home for fragile eggs & baby birds. How do birds know how to take bits of twigs & leaves & pine needles and sculpt them into perfectly rounded bowls, just the right size for their eggs?

The vinca I planted in the big black pot have all put down roots in the rich soil, & are showing off their cheerful blossoms. Bright white petals surrounding a hot pink center against shiny green leaves, well-watered & reaching toward the sun. They look happy!

Soft, almost transparent clouds cover the pale blue sky. A gentle breeze is rustling the leaves in the treetops.

Passing by -- an ant, a wasp, a bumble bee, a painted bug. Salem, our dog, comes out to lie down next to me in hopes of having her ears scratched & her back rubbed. Now, the soft swoosh-swoosh-swoosh of water as the sprinkler sprays the green grass...

When I came outside, just a brief time ago, I felt sooo tired -- yes, & even irritable. Now I am breathing the sweet air & I feel refreshed, renewed, quieted.

Thank you for these restful moments, Lord. Thank you for allowing me to enjoy what You have made. I feel better now.

"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." Psalm 150:6

Written 6/10/06

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Over the past month, I have taken two very different trips.

The first was to Rockbridge, a Young Life camp hidden in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Joe and I were privileged to stay in the guest lodge, which perches on the side of a mountain. From the front porch, I had a birdseye view of the camp activity below; and to the East, I could see mountain after mountain after mountain...

While my husband worked, I was free to use the time as I pleased. I decided to make this my first-ever Artist's Retreat. I walked & read & prayed & journaled & sketched & drew & "colored." I caught up with old friends over coffee and meals. I enjoyed meeting some special new friends. I relaxed & went to bed early. At the end of the week, I felt rested & re-energized.

The second trip was to Chicago, where our oldest son, Ben, lives & works. We stayed in Ben's apartment on the 40th floor of a highrise that overlooks the Canals and Downtown. As far as I could see in every direction there were buildings & busy streets -- cars, taxis, trains, bikes, & people bustling from place to place.

We took the time to be tourists & visited the Sears Tower & Millenium Park. We visited a fascinating Museum of Photography. We walked along Lake Shore Drive and watched the bikers, the boaters, and the beachgoers. We sampled different kinds of cuisine in our own "Taste of Chicago." We strolled along the Magnificent Mile and peeked in all the shop windows. We hung-out together & just enjoyed being family.

To be honest, I came away from Chicago feeling happy, but ooooh soooo tired! As an introvert, it's hard for me to keep such a fast pace. I need some quiet places in my days to process and unwind.

We are back at home again now. The mountains of laundry have been done. The grass has been mowed. The groceries have been bought. And we are almost caught up on our sleep...

What a blessing it is to go new places and to see new things, to live life in out-of-the-ordinary ways! And what a blessing, too, to come home again!!

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