Monday, September 30, 2013

September In The Rear View Mirror

The month of September has been a little over the top.

I don't say it lightly and I'm trying not to over-think it.

All of our lives are crazy, but it is quite possible that I took it all to a new level of wonky.

The final week hit a new fever pitch of things added and things gone awry.

September is notorious for crazy plus what ever the garden is doing.

This year our garden was small, but happy. Gallons of tomatoes, pints and quarts of pickles and buckets of salsa. The dirt and the flies sifted in with them. I had purchased Cinderella pumpkin plants too. I love them. They are all weird and flat and chubby. The pumpkins turned out to be a mass quantity of miniatures posing as Cinderella's. No big bright orange, funky pumpkins. Tons of tiny gourd looking pumpkins.


Then JQ decided to do some updating to the house. This is a welcome, needed thing and a momentous, messy thing.

I think it began with a new floor in the kitchen.

On the only day that I had to be in my office, on the computer, all. day. long. The tiny flowered linoleum, full of dents, nicks, and ugly the day it was put in, would probably never fully wear out.


And on a normal day this would be such an exciting thing. The problem that surfaced was that the kitchen is directly above my office. JQ assured me that laying a new wood floor would not be a noisy process.

I would describe my experience that ten hour day, something like being under a bowling alley that was inside of a saw mill. I don't get headaches easily, but I did have one that day.

The floor is lovely.

He then moved on to paint the whole entire house.

It has been ten years since we have taken on this little project. As I recall the ceilings were lower and the square footage was less.

Have I mention my office painting fiasco a mere week before the main level painting project? The story of how I was convinced of the color I wanted from a 6" canvas-quote-inspiration-piece? The sad tale of how I bought an entire gallon of blue paint with great confidence, brought it home, put it on the wall and hated it. It took breath from my lungs every time I walked in the room. So. I went and bought another gallon of paint. This time a silver-leaf-gray. This one beautiful blog used it in three rooms of her home and assured all her readers that putting a neutral color on the wall is the way to go and then add in your colors.  People who have come in to look at our handiwork have told me,  "Oh what a nice green," "I love the light blue" and "Wow! This is so, very white."

Small picture that began the whole office mess.

We learned to purchase the $3 sample cans of paint before deciding on colors.

Our lighting must be different than anywhere else in the whole world, so greens looked blue, grays looked green and browns looked gray.

So we have purchased a lot (a-l-o-t!) of different samples. So many, that the women who work in the paint section run to find something else to do when they see us come in. Not even kidding.

And if you've repainted lately you know that it throws your home into u-t-t-e-r chaos. You become painfully aware that you need to declutter, that the old curtains never seem to work and the whole house needs deep cleaned.

To his credit, JQ has worked the hardest and done 98.5 percent of the painting. I helped one night, but the phone rang and he had my part done before I could finish the conversation.

We learned too, that apparently when you move appliances it's not a good thing?

We had tilted the oven, not even six inches back, to do the flooring. Then I made a pizza, from scratch, went to warm up the oven and watched flames shoot out of the front of the stove. We now  know that pizza can be cooked outside on our grill.

Did you know that an oven has it's own mother board? And when flames shot out, it successfully fried ours and with it the ability to bake, went up in smoke as well.

This has proved to pose a bit of a problem. It's hard to get repair men to come to your home and no one carries parts.

It was easy to ignore until Friday.

A friend of mine was getting married. I am so excited for them, even though I wasn't invited to the wedding.

Actually only family was invited. My beautiful friend who isn't fussy about a thing, found her Prince later in life and now her prince charming. It reaffirms my faith in real life love stories and happily-ever-afters.

They didn't want gifts or hoopla, so-  I had told her long ago that I would bring them cinnamon rolls the morning after the ceremony. This would be my signature way to communicate love.


And after I had made a ginormous batch of dough and it was rising all over the kitchen, well that was when I remembered that flames had come from my oven a few days before.

There were grandchildren here too. They are darling of course. The curly headed two year old amazes me with her full sentences, witty responses and how many polly-pocket clothing pieces she can stuff in her mouth at the same time. She wanted nothing to do with helping in the kitchen, but her brother was another story. He pulled up a chair and "helped" pour flour on the floor, honey in his hair and some stuff even landed in the bowl. The little baker-man flew flour, while his four year old frame sported a football jersey and his feet clad in cleats, because he was "ready for his game."

So I have six pans of rising dough, a red-head eating rubber doll clothes, a miniature football player helping to further change the decor in the kitchen, when the two puppies arrived.

Cutest puppies ever.

In a weak moment I had agreed to babysit the puppies.

For two weeks.

They had a rough ten days before their arrival. My friend Karen lives on the river. It is usually a tranquil, beautiful home and welcome retreat, complete with sparkling stream gently skipping past her back door. This last week however, flood waters all the way from the mountains arrived with churning brown water full of everything that had been stripped from upstream and threatened to destroy all they love. So the pampered pups had been shuffled around and now landed at my house all out of sorts and routines.

The happy level in our home went up on the Richter-scale.

We were all having a pretty great time and my neighbor and dear friend Lynette bailed me out of this sticky situation of no oven, by letting me run pans of rolls across the yard. The grandchildren would stand at the door and yell, "Grandma are you ever going to come back?" The dogs were barking and making themselves at home and  the cooking rolls at the neighbors was complicated by a much needed downpour.

Somewhere around this time is when our youngest came home from the college town, for the first time in months and the chaos reached new heights of happiness.

We went to bed late and were up early.

The puppies were barking before five in the morning and the grand-kids soon followed suit. I had a meeting to attend at nine that I wanted to skip, but had already rescheduled once.

I stumbled into the shower to hide from all the insanity in my house. Eyes half closed, steam rolling from the warm water, I was looking forward to a few minutes of being alone.

I moaned and pushed past the fact, that there were still toys left from last nights bath-time, and the mop that was being used on such a regular basis with the puppies, that I didn't put it away. The relaxation of this moment with the mop, the toys and I was interrupted, when two cute little cute faces peered in to ask me what I was doing and why was I taking a shower with their toys. They didn't seem to think it strange about the mop.

By 8:00 a.m. the puppies had pooped and pottied most everywhere and were corralled for a nap.  I was loading fresh goods, baked at the neighbors, grandchildren in pj's minus one shoe,  when I found out my own little corgi was missing. She had packed her proverbial bag and run away.

Honestly I could not blame her.

The neighbor was kind enough to call and notify me that Olivia the corgi was having morning coffee with her on the sun porch.

I wanted to join them.

So September is coming to a screeching, screaming close.

What was your September like friends?

#1234 Fresh grown homemade pico

#1235 An afternoon with Amy Jo and Max and
seeing my friend Shelley Moser who drove for hours to meet us.

#1236 A downpour of rain that blesses

#1237 A Pastor who leads by serving and example

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Monday, September 23, 2013

When We Need To Reach For Higher-Ground

Hints of the coming season change, seem to arrive before the official date on the calendar.

Trees splash saffron color, mums tune up their deep autumn hues and the winds of transition usher in with increasing urgency.

Cooler water laps gentle against the shoreline, as silvery white balls, ride on swells of lake water. If you look closely, you can see that the orbs are birds. Perched on their watery nest, the winged scavengers of the sea, roll and bob with the perpetual sway and ripple motion.

And I wonder who taught them to ride the curl of a wave as if it were nothing? Watching them makes me marvel at God's creation.

Just last week, locals would walk, run and ride their bicycles over the bridge that spans tranquil fingers of sparkling water.  And while they went about the day, as if it were any other day, waters roared down the mountains west of here, ripping away in it's path, lives, homes and everything familiar.

The sirens wail and warnings rang out as the water cascaded down, in the aftermath of that destruction. Now it is making its way though one thousand veins of water to this place where I live and on downstream.

The skies were still clear while predictions dominated the news, that waters would rise in epic proportion.

Too well I know, that it doesn't take much to change a meandering stream into a turbulent maelstrom of swirling darkness.

Flood waters and change touch deep places in my veins.

Indeed, I've walked the shores of my devastation.

Its hard to erase the furrows that cut soul and sinew when waters of heartache rise and chew away life.

Time only dims the memory of the day, when I rocked two babies like my life depended on it, while waiting for emergency responders to arrive and untangle what was lost.

And I've stood with my back against the ICU waiting room wall, listening to code red sirens wail, knowing that breath was already gone and efforts to revive the woman who gave me life would soon end.

Yes. Another season of rising waters was ushered in.

You've been there too haven't you?

That diagnoses. That child who you love. That job that was your whole life. That husband who walked out?

So what do we do when the waters threaten to overtake us?
When deep water alters the course of your life forever.
When trauma and trouble threatened to devour you and all you hold dear.
When hope seems to fail and your joy begins to sink.

We have to reach out for Higher-Ground!

It's not mother nature, but the nature of our Father.

He's not flinging catastrophes at us, but He will allow them.

And like a Parent sometime He takes things from the hand of His children. Things that we hold too tight.

Oh, a book could be written, of where I've misplaced my heart friends. Of the places I've looked for my identity, in what I found my value in.

They span ten-thousand empty things, from the places I've lived, the work I do, how beautiful my children are, what size of jeans I wore.

Yes. There are more.

The flood waters, they worked to stripped these things away. They washed over me and threatened to destroy me. But the storms that were intended to destroy me have served to set me free!

I think right here, it is appropriate to say...
Alleluia and Amen!

In this world no matter how gifted, persistent, or dedicated we are, there will come a day when all our efforts cannot change the reality of pain and trouble. There will come a day, if we admit it, that we are helpless to change the circumstances in our lives and we need the Father to reach down and lift us up.

The world tells us to pull ourselves up by the boot straps or blame someone else for the troubles.

May we live like the birds I watch on the lake. Resting as they riding every wave and swell.

May these things bring us closer to the Father who designed us to be vessels of  His glory.

This time it was a gracious thing, that for days the warnings rang out, as we could prepare and waited for the churning brown water to arrive.

The people upstream were not all so fortunate.
They are living the reality that death is as much a part of life as the living.

So how do we truly live while we are alive?

What are you holding too tightly in hand today friend?

The day after my moms funeral,
this song popped up on my computer screen. 
It was a blessing to me and I hope to you as well!

Counting my blessings here:

#1231 Beautiful beginning of Autumn

#1232 My husband giving a fresh face to the house, room by room! Wow.

#1233 Elizabeth Stewart. My (in)courage partner.
 Can you spell r-o-c-k-s-t-a-r?

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Monday, September 16, 2013

When Your Heart Is Hyper-linked

This year I was able to attend the retreat,  Jumping Tandem. There were well known authors, bloggers, sweet gifted speakers, and women who have thousands of followers on Pinterest,

I have some of their books on my shelf and stitched into my heart.

I read some of their blogs.

I've fallen in love virtually, from this side of the screen, with their faith and their stories.

Going into the retreat I prayed this prayer; "Lord, of course everyone wants to meet the people who have names that we recognize.... but You are the Famous One and I want Your appointments. Who do You want me to meet and connect with? And help me to recognize it when they come along."

Well, it was such a sweet event. I was able to travel and spend needed time with my long time friend Cheri who God uses in deep ways in my life and who speaks on important subjects, to help women find freedom and fall more in love with Jesus.

We did get to see, hear and meet so many of the ones I admired like, Holley, Lisa Jo, DeidraShelly, Michelle and Emily.

One afternoon at the retreat we had a few hours of free time. Some women sat in overstuffed chairs near the warmth of the fireplace exchanging hearts, some took the adventurous dare to go down the zip line and I was looking for good coffee. That's when Linda and Elizabeth asked if we would want to go to a flea market.

I hesitated a little. Since I was here for the experience of this place and these women, I wasn't sure leaving  for a few hours was what I wanted to do.

But, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me, that this was one of His appointments.

The four of us, found good coffee and wandered through the huge flea market. We then returned to the retreat center for the evening meal and speaker.

It was sweet, but the earth didn't move and the skies didn't open up with angels singing hallelujah.

Not that I saw.

What we didn't know is that a thread of real life relationships were formed.

And as months pass, I've seen this thread that binds us all, is the interwoven community of (in)

For two session I was blessed to serve in this place, with the talented, beautiful, sweet, Tracy Hicks as co-leader of an (in)courage community group.

Tracy and I have never met in person but we have forged friendship and sister-ship that will last a life time and even into eternity. As Session 3 deadlines arrived Tracy had a series of things happening in her life that made it unreasonable to be part of this session.

We were both sad.

Days followed that I just prayed about what the next steps would look like. One night before heading to bed I saw Elizabeth's name pop up and even though I doubted she would be interested, I shot her an e-mail asking if she would team up for Session 3 of (in)courage.

She said yes.

The sweet thing is that she was praying too, for new opportunities to write and share her heart. It was a gift to both of us.

Elizabeth blogs five days a week here. She is a Pastors wife, photographer, Grandma, lover of beautiful things and great deals.

If you read her blog you will be blessed. 

This is where I am reminded again that this on-line community is the most amazing thing.

I had my doubts in the beginning.

My mind could not grasp, how virtual and on-line could ever be real and tangible.

It is true.

It's real.

And the best part is that you're invited!

Today is the day that the groups launch. Almost 70 of them. Nearly 140 brave leaders are ready to love on women. These small groups that have the same heart and various focus, such as motherhood, ministry, fitness, and more!

These are groups that will be capped at 30 women each, so the spaces will fill up fast!

Can I just tell you that blogging and writing, connecting with women on-line has made the world smaller and interconnected?

And I want you to be part of it.

Can you be brave and join one?

I'm praying for you to find the perfect one for the season you are currently in.

There was a day when my words were more likely to cut, than to heal.

The tongue can fly faster than my mind can even process and if left to myself, they flow out like a rogue wave breaking onto the shoreline leaving destruction in it's path.

How ironic really, that now my heart is to write, speak and pour into women words that have life.

I've come to know that this is the way Jesus works things for His glory.

When I use my mind to discern what the Spirit is speaking, the words come out as encouragement.

My heart and encouragement are hyper-linked.

Come join us?

Thanks to for the printable!

Mondays are my day to link up with Ann Voskamp and my Gratitude Journal.
I count you as one of those blessings friends.

Hope you are counting your blessings one by one as well.

#1226 Gifts in the mail unexpected

#1227 Harvesting dill from our little garden to can baby dill pickles.
#1228 Extra money that came in when there were unexpected expenses.
#1229 Our church growing and Jim serving.

#1230 Starting a new journey through Breaking Free by Beth Moore

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Monday, September 9, 2013

If You Are A Prodigal

I slip off my sandals so I can feel the sun-warmed sand against my feet.

With a soft twisting motion and light pressure, the grains-of-time sift in between my toes and fill in around the imprint of each foot.

It's soul-tonic, to rest here with the murmur of birds fluttering and chirping in trees, water lapping gentle against the shore, and the visual beauty that a late summer evening bring.

Shimmering flecks of light are rendered out of focus, as they dance over the water to form what seems like a pathway to infinity.

The Hand-painted scene is breathtaking as sun and summer are sinking below the horizon.

I've been painting some too, in my home office, and it has been a life-upheaval.

I knew it would be.

It's my way, to minimize the scope of the project, so that I can even bear to take it on. Now, not wanting to drag it all back in, to the way it was, I'm stuck sifting through this collected slips of paper, books and the pieces of my life that I felt were important enough to tuck away.

I want a fresh start, a space where creativity can flow, where clutter doesn't stifle my mind.

This mess represents a bit of my emotional, spiritual and soul life, just tossed across the floor in the family room.

It's been a revisiting of the layers of my journey.

My redemption story.

My life letter.

And I'm reminded of what a rebel, what a prodigal I've been.

Those words sting.

That thing of being a rebel: one who resists authority.
That label of being a prodigal: one who was lost and wasteful.

Yeah. That's not how anyone wants to be remembered.

You've heard the story right?

The prodigal son.
The son that was lost.

The story is only recorded in the book of the Bible, written by Luke the doctor. The people who hung out at church in Jesus day, were murmuring about how He kept company with folks who had a bad reputation.

So the Master-Weaver of  Story, He tells this group, this group of religious people and messed up people,
....he tells three stories.

Stories of things lost.

A lost sheep.
A lost coin.
And a lost son.

The story of the lost son was shocking to this gathering, because the father in the story shows extreme grace, patience and wisdom in dealing with the son who wanted to figure life out for himself.

And don't we wish everyone had this Father?

Some of us just have to go our own way to figure out how to get back.

I've processed some of my path to self destruction and rebellion and what I know, is this: I wasn't always a rebel.

My mom would tell me how I was her timid, gentle, toe-headed sweetheart.

So there was pain that marked the journey away and there was pain that marked my journey back home.

After I had come to my senses and returned there are a few things that I found to be true.

Some people preferred it when I was a prodigal.

Because the rebels in the world, make the rest of the people, especially the ones who stayed home and followed the rules   ....well, ...we make them look better.

Quite frankly, some people don't think my returning should look like it does, in fact some still see me, as I was.

So what do you do with a prodigal returned?

In the story the Father threw a feast with the fattened calf and invited anyone who would come.

Not a goat or a lamb or a steak on the grill, but the whole darn calf.

The father wanted everyone to celebrate with him, that his lost son had come home.

I picture a long table with fresh laid linens, held down with large goblets of water with beads of sweat, steaming pottery bowls heaped high, wicks on candles lit all down the center, that cast a warm glow to the faces of those gathered to the feast, and happy music, with dancing and fine aged wine.

But there is someone in the story who wasn't happy about about the lost boys return.

It was the older son.
The elder brother.
The son that stayed home.

The son who looked good and quite frankly probably liked being an only child in his younger brothers absence.

I get this. I really do.

If the younger son was anything like me, he came home with all kinds of guilt and thinking he needed to work his way back into grace with his father. If the older son is anything like what I've seen, he stayed home and worked to be accepted by his father. The older son who stayed home, most likely thought he was better and more righteous than his brother who was so obviously a mess.

But we have a heavenly Father that you can not work to please.
We all have to meet Him at the foot of the cross.

The deal is,  we are all prodigals.

No one is "good enough."

We all fall short of the standard God has set, which is perfection, and that's why we all need Jesus.

When Jesus came to die for our sins, He sent out an invitation to  His banquet to celebrate and everyone is invited.

Don't miss in this story that the father went out and reasoned with the older son, to join them in celebrating the return of his brother. The father assured the older son of his love for him, but in the story we do not see that the older brother responds to the invitation.

It's the way of the Father to initiate relationship with us.

He is always searching the horizon for our return.
He is always meeting us right where we are to invite us.

In fact He left His throne in heaven to wear a crown of thorns on earth.

So the prodigal son comes to his senses, the table is full of people who responded to the invitation of the banquet, and it would all be a happy ending, except for the son who stayed home, kept all the rules and probably went to church on Sunday.

He  is outside and upset because he doesn't think certain people should be invited to the party.

He thinks that the party should look different. He wants to hang out with the ones who look like they have it all together, and not the ones who obviously don't.

One thing about having been the prodigal,  is that I know how much I need Jesus.

It's easier for those of us who know we are messed up, to admit it, sometimes.

And sometimes, the ones who stayed home, kept the rules, attended church, dressed a certain way, had a certain kind of education, worked a certain kind of jobs  - -well sometimes those nice people have a harder time realizing that they are a prodigal just like me.

In the Bible, only a few women are named in the linage of Christ. Of those listed  ...well they were some pretty colorful ladies, who had faith to believe that the Father loved them despite their past.

Tamar a widow, who was denied her legacy, dressed up as a prostitute to deceive her father-in-law, Rahab, mentioned twice to be the prostitute from Jerico, and Bethsheba who had the famous affair which effected an entire world.

And I don't think we get a glimpse of their back story to judge them, but to understand the grace of the Father who loved them.

We are all invited to a fresh start, to a clean slate.

We are invited to the table that God has set.

We all have to come to the table, broken, with understanding of our need for forgiveness from the Father who is gracious, patient and wise.

Jesus isn't interested in how many rules you broke, how many rules you have kept, your doctrine, or what you have done in the past.

He wants you to meet Him, on His terms, so that you can have the future He designed, just for you, before time began.

He is wanting us to join Him at the table.

There is one catch.

You have to accept His invitation.

Joining Ann Voskamp giving thanks.
Have you read her book 1000 Gifts?
Better yet, may we live it.

#1221 Sunset and lake and beauty all rolled into one heart-stopping picture perfect moment.
#1222 Youngest daughter calling and sharing a sweet word with me.
#1223 Beautiful full out rain. Rain that blesses and cleanses
#1224 Canned dill pickles done with JQ. Time to talk and work together. Sweet.
#1225 Puppies. Four of them in our house for three days.
                  And the grandkids had to come to play too.

* Table photo credit link
** Thank you to Amy @ A Moment Photography for putting her magic on my photo. I love you.

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Monday, September 2, 2013

When Summer Is Passing You By

Perhaps we feel the same?

That summer is book-ended by Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Just when I was getting into my summer groove of  mowing, weed pulling, gardening, and sweet morning walks.... well it's about to pass me by.

Could you tolerate a little of what my summer has and hasn't been?

The good, the bad and the slightly annoying?

New car:

My "new" car is actually twelve years old and just turned over 30,000 miles. It gets over 40 MPH and it's blue.

Those are the high points.

It's kinda like driving a motorcycle with a hood on it, with it's 3 cylinders of pure power, and tires that look like they belong on a bicycle.

One grandson calls it my "fun car."  The Fire Princess granddaughter was in the back seat with her brother this summer, when she yelled, "Grandma! Your car is making my hair hot!"

Yes darling red headed princess, it is making every-ones hair hot, since it doesn't have an air-conditioner.

Another little piece of trivia is that is happens to be a five speed, stick shift.

So not only is your hair hot, its an aerobic workout just going to town.

Mostly I drive it to work or for pet sitting.

In the morning it's lovely, with the window down and fresh morning air softly drifting in. By five o'clock it is suffocating. One 100 degree day, JQ called when I got off work to asked if I'd run a few errand for him.


No I won't... unless I come home and get the car with air conditioning and come back.


Yes, I realize that would defeat the purpose of saving on gas.

It's been a long hot summer of trying to figure out the best approach to maintaining a cool demeanor, on a 100 Degree day with 90 percent humidity in my little "fun car."

Everything is really out the window with that idea.

I can reach the passenger side window without stretching from the drivers side, so I usually roll the windows all the way down.

This functions to circulates the 100 degree air, to a blasting, moving, blowing, 100 degrees of heat, while pressing the miniature gas petal to the floor, trying to hit 55 miles an hour, up the hill, toward my home, with all my hair sucked over to one side of my head, flapping out the window, while everyone is passing and staring at you, because the speed limit is 65 MPH.

You get the picture.

The fact that I've only spent $25.00 on gas all summer, makes up for all the bad hair days.

Bunny Incident:

Yes there was the more than mildly disturbing bunny incident.

One mommy bunny made a nest in the spearmint patch, under the wire dome of a garden hose hanger, that has a smiling glass face that looks like the sun. I'm sure it seemed like the perfect idea at the time, but she overlooked the fact it was also the small fenced in area where our dogs run outside to take care of their business and check on the affairs of the neighborhood.

One awful day, the rescue dog (Brandy) must have heard them having a baby bunny convention under the herb plants and she wanted to play too. Before I knew what was happening bunnies were flying through the air and when one quit responding she would go look for another new friend.

I know from growing up on a farm that rabbits eat their young for less than this, and I get that, but now we had three orphan rabbits. And no one in the whole world, that I know, has time to feed bunnies with eye droppers, every few hours, for weeks on end, so that they can grow up and go out to eat your trees and gardens.

The ordeal has scared my summer.

I am no good at dealing with death. Not even the death of a bunny.

The house is a mess.

I had this simple idea to paint my office.

I read a few blogs, got some tips on how to freshen things up for just a little money and time.

It sounded so easy.

So I dove in first and called on my husband for backup later.

My office could make people think I'm a hoarder, and it is true, that I must be.

There was only a path, from my desk, to my favorite chair and back out again.

Have I ever mentioned that my husband is a neat freak?

Well that's easy for him, because anything that does not have a home is delivered to my office.

I was sure I wanted robin blue walls.

I read it on a blog and my friend Melissa said it too, "go buy a tester bottle of paint and paint an area or better yet a piece of wood, so you can move it around the room to see it in different lighting."


I was confident of what I wanted. So I bought a gallon of paint and started in.

You all know what happened next.

I hated it.

Every time I walked into the room, I gasped.

In fact I just did again to think of it.

Well I bought a second gallon of "neutral" color called "Grey Leaf."

It was kind of like hitting the other ditch with color. It looked more like "white leaf."

Well there is a whole blog post here, but my office is painted, the carpet clean and every piece of furniture has a fresh coat of white, which helps the room look more grey.

Did you get that? Ya. My JQ wasn't thinking it was true either.

The real problem is, that exactly half of our home is now destroyed from everything we took out of that one room. I need to join a support group for people who collect paper, books and thumb drives.

The moral of this story is, buy the sample bottle of paint for $3.

Trust me on this.

Who is impersonating me?

I called a long time friend. She is older than me by quite a few years, but we were instant friends when she told me about how she loved to sneak down to the lake and go skinny dipping at night.

We would laugh and share secrets like school girls. She moved to be close to family last year and I have not been super faithful to call or e-mail.

Well, I called her and was shocked that she said I didn't sound like the Rhonda Quaney she knew.

In fact she suspiciously asked me questions to determine if I was really Rhonda Quaney.

I apologized to her for not being a better friend, but assured her that I cared for her still, and that only I would probably lay claim to be Rhonda Quaney.

Then she said, "...if you are really Rhonda Quaney, what is your phone number?" When I told her she hung up on me.

I must have failed the test.

I'm sad that my friend is not doing well and possibly flattered to think, that she would imagine that someone out there would want to impersonate me.

Either way, go right now and call your friends whom you have not talked to in some time.

It's important.

The Toe:

It's just dumb, but I'll tell you anyway.

All summer I have had this toe issue.

It has dealt me fits, for the last few years.

My mind contend that since I had cancer treatments it has been an issue.

This may or may not have any validity, but it's my story.

I suppose it could just be like everything else in life, ....things get weird.

So, I knew the thing hurt, but it got to the point that even a sheet touching it at night would make me sit straight up in bed.

I could only wear flip flops.

It worked better when walking the beach, than attending weddings, church, and or a nice restaurant.

It also seemed like everyone and the dogs wanted to step on only that toe.

One day, one of my granddaughter stepped on it three times.

Twice, I kind of saw it coming so I could brace myself.

But the third time she caught me off guard and when she made contact, I involuntarily flung her off my foot, which made her fly through the air.

My prayer is that she won't be scared emotionally for life from it.

The next day I made an appointment to see a foot surgeon.

He looked at me and said, "this is as bad as I've seen."

It took a surgery procedure and two more months for it to heal.

I'm glad it happened in the summer, as winters here would make wearing flip flops a little more challenging.

You just don't think something so small, can be such a big deal. It was like living the Bible lesson about how every single person is an important part of the whole Body. Read about it here?

Am I using my talents, time and treasure to serve.

No one in the whole world can do what you or I were designed to do.

I've learned this all summer: Even toes are important.

Being Helpful:

Too often,  I feel like the Lord is telling me to do something, that I don't want to do.

It happened a lot this summer.

One example of this was on another 100 degree at high noon.

I saw the young man and his blue bicycle.

He was bent over with his head hanging between his arms which were resting on the bicycle seat like he was trying to catch his breath. I reasoned that I was in the wrong lane to pull over.

Well I ended up finally making a u-turn and went back to find him just where I had first seen him.

I pulled into a place where I could get out of the traffic and get his attention to ask if I could help.

He was less than receptive, but handed me his bike.

To make this story short, he let me load his bike, take him to his home and unload his bike and we parted with a weak nod of the head and wave of  the hand.

As I drove away, I thought this: Really?

But as I drove home, I knew that Jesus had asked me to go back and help him.
I know that the guy had disabilities and was at the point of heat exhaustion.

It was a test really.

A test to see if I will just help those that aren't able to reciprocate, or communicate gratefulness.

It was a test to see if I would just do do this for Jesus, when no one will see or know or thank you?

I want to respond to His inaudible, audible voice.

I want my answer to be yes. I will do whatever Lord.

Time for friends:

You'll understand after one of my previous lessons, that I need to be more intentional about friends.

So, without much planning, I invited a few ladies via text message, secretly hoping everyone would say they were busy.

Remember above, "the house is a mess?"

Well the garden is also in full swing.

That is a nice term, to cover the reality of my kitchen having mounds of tomatoes, a cloud of fruit flies, the stringent smell of vinegar, off-set by the light, fresh scent of dill.

The dogs are in full shed. I'm not sure why they need to shed in preparation for winter, but it is currently happening in our home.

And every time I open the door to let the dogs out to check for bunnies, large spiders waltz in, as if to say, "why thank you for opening the door for me."

I tried not to fuss over the detail, but when the guests arrived I just put it all out there.

To start with I told them that the brownies I made were dry.

Then I asked them please... only open drawers or closet doors at your own risk and keep your feet up on your chair, because I just killed a centipede before you arrived.

Also, I did apologize that I didn't warn them not to wear black, since the dog hair shows up best on that..

We ended up having a lovely time and they all wanted to do this again soon, only another lady suggested it could be at her house next time.

It is probably safer.

In Summary:

This summer I discovered coconut milk which makes amazing healthy ice cream desserts in a blender, but nothing replaces a good old fashioned hot dog on the grill.
I loved picking choke cherries and then making choke cherry jelly for the first time ever.
I made it to the lake (which I live right next to) twice, found that they have make-up in a bottle for legs, sat in the hot tub and watched shooting stars, read one book, drank cold coffee, took lots of pictures, slept in a few times until 7:00 a.m and watched my grand children grow up too much.

It went by too fast.

So as the blazing hot summer sun sets in your life, would you tell me?

What has been some of the highlights?

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© Rhonda Quaney