Thursday, March 30, 2006

Dream Come True!

Joe is on his way to England as I write! Here Tom and Joe are having some light breakfast foods at the airport while we await boarding time. He'll be flying all day and will arrive in England tomorrow!

I had to take the large picture of him waving good-bye while I was standing behind a security rope, so it's not a good photo, but he is smiling in earnest! He's so excited....and a little nervous. Two months abroad! He's as free as he'll ever be, I think.

Some of you have asked how Cassie's pie turned out! Well, here it is. She made it for Joe as a going away surprise. She and Caroline grew pumpkins last summer and this pie is a result of some of the pumpkin she cooked up. Joe was HAPPY to eat of piece of this delicious pie. In fact, I think he had TWO pieces!

Bon Voyage, Joe! You'll be in Merry Olde England soon, just as you always dreamed you would!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Spring, Sun, Showers

"Hold onto your curiosity all your life. Don't let yourself come to the end of it, ever."

How great is it that we valley dwellers can travel to the beach in an hour, or, heading in the opposite direction, make it to the snowy mountains in the same amount of time? Pretty cool. This is a good place to live for moody people who respond well to scenery. People like me.

All six of us, plus a friend and Sam, our pup, headed to the beach last weekend. What a great trip! Sun, breezes, kites flying, dogs fetching, relaxed people chatting, solitary dreamers reflecting, and couples snuggling. Little kids wanted to pet Sammy, and he loved it! Cassie and Caroline ran all around the dunes. Ben and his friend, David, dared go to the furthest edge of the jetty where they were rewarded with sea water splashing entirely over them. Joe and Sam explored the dunes with the girls and played in the water. We had some good conversation with the kids there in the sand and sun, with the music of the sea pressing the cares of the world right out of our minds.

Tom and I enjoyed the nutritious air, the sparkling sun, the hiss of the water, and the fact that we were surrounded by these energetic curious kids. We walked quite a way along the water's edge and into the dunes where we found a log straddling a little dune ditch. We stepped across it while balancing. Woo-hoo!

There's a feeling that parents get, a fullness, I don't know how to explain it, when surrounded by all their happy offspring, part of the cycle of life. It's like participating in a song, existing for a time in a poem of joyful intimacy. It's an awareness of the greater reality as well as the fragility of life. It won't always be so, the togetherness. Makes one appreciate the moment at hand, and all the similar occasions.

Joe leaves for Europe in less than a week. Today in the mail we received a t-shirt I ordered for him, as a little going away gift. It's black and says, "Sell your computer, buy a guitar!" It has a good picture of a guitar etc. He likes it! Says he'll wear it.

Yeah, my boy (boy? 21!) is heading off for Europe, to explore. Just him. Just for the adventure, the experience. I think it's entirely cool that he's doing this. Indeed, people do still backpack across Europe, free spirits, living on a dime, taking pictures, learning, experiencing first hand. We are all very excited for him! He will come home different, wiser, further educated! I always say that travel is a great teacher.

Cassie is in the kitchen now making her first pie crust. Very first! So far, so good. Such excitement!

Caroline gets her braces put on next week, well, the first appliance. She's so excited! You should hear her on the phone telling her friends. "Yeah, and it's going to be SO COOL!" We sure hope so, little kid. Of all our kids Cassie alone will not experience the ordeal of orthodontia. Caroline thinks that is so sad. The boys, not so much.

I think this blog gets not much reading, but you know what, it's helping me, and the kids seem to enjoy it. Tom, too.

Whoever you are, reading this, out there amongst the stars in cyberspace, I wish you well!

Saturday, March 18, 2006


"Gonna stand my ground, won't be turned around,
And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down.
Gonna stand my ground, and I won't back down.

Well I know what's right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin' me around
But I'll stand my ground and I won't back down." ~~ Tom Petty, "Won't Back Down"

"Look beneath the surface: never let a thing's intrinsic quality or worth escape you." ~~ Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations"

"To refrain from imitation is the best revenge." ~~ Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations"

"A perfect man would never act from sense of duty; he'd always want the right thing more than the wrong one. Duty is only a substitute for love (of God and of other people), like a crutch when our own legs (our own loves, tastes, habits, etc.) can do the journey on their own!" ~~ C. S. Lewis, "Letters to Children"

This is just me, thinking the way I do, all over the place. Lots to think about in this world. Lots to be distracted by, lots to be manipulated by, lots to be anesthesized by. How often I just let it happen. Ah, but there must be some element of hope if I at least notice now and again that this fog has crept into my thinking, my being.

I remember reading that Bobby Dylan said he didn't like to sit and watch T.V. because he felt that he was being manipulated. Perceptive, as always. Same could be said of a lot of our activities.

Have you seen that movie, "Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius"? It's a good one. Very good. It's out for rent. In it Bobby Jones is provoked about his decision to remain an amateur golfer, even though he was the 'best golfer in the world' at the time. His response was that the word amateur comes from the Latin 'amare', meaning 'to love.' He said he remained an amateur because he loved the game. To become a professional would have meant that he loved money. Again, perceptive.

Another remark made in that movie is, "Money is going to ruin sports." That movie is set in the 1940's. Yep, came true.

Money has ruined music, too.

Well, there ARE places where one can experience REAL sports, I guess, where people play for love. Same with music. But as a whole, in our culture, the foremost displays of sports and music are a far cry from love, and a near cry for help. And for money.

"MONEY! It's a gas. Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash!" ~~ Pink Floyd, "Money"

What else has been ruined by money? What hasn't been is a better question. I think of politics, formal education, churches,

Money is a good servant but a lousy master.

Some people seem to handle money pretty well, most don't. My uncle once said that it's good to know how to make money, but better to know how to spend it. Hmm. Some people do tend to sit on their piles of gold, letting that glittering greed define them. I wonder, if those people, who take such stock in money for security and definition, were to lose it, would they lose themselves? I think they think so. I think they think that if their pile was reduced to just what they need, no surplus, that not only would they not be safe anymore, or powerful, but they wouldn't be liked anymore and they would no longer be relevant. They'd disappear. Sad, to think that your contribution to society is based on whether or not you choose to share a smidgen of your pile, and sad, that your perceived value as a human being is directly tied to materialism.

Storing up treasure on Earth. Storing up treasure in Heaven. On Earth you get a bank account number (and/or a bunch of 'stuff') that means a whole heckuva lot to YOU, but when you croak, well, a lot of good it does you. In Heaven, amazing, the things you learned, the Truths you came to believe, even understand, well, they do you an eternity of good.

Money. Truth. Can one buy the other? Can money buy Truth? No. Can Truth buy money? No. Nope. It's an eternal thing that can't be manipulated by money. Money is trash compared to Truth, it's sewage.

But, oh, how excited we get when some of that sewage comes our way, and how much of ourselves we are willing to exchange for a little more of that glittery vapor and the distractions it can buy.

We don't have to love it for it to have an evil affect on us. It can fool us into thinking we are virtuous and before we know it, we are compromising our beliefs, our morals, j u s t a l i t t l e , for a little handful of the sparkling quicksand.

Money ruins a lot of things. Even people. Even us. Even me.

Good servant. Poor master. It's all about perspective.

"Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 'All this I will give you,' he said, 'if you will bow down and worship me.'

"Jesus said to him, 'Away from me, Satan!' For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" ~~ Matthew 4:8-10

Thursday, March 02, 2006

WOW - What a Ride!

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a
pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside,
thoroughly used up,
totally worn out,
and loudly proclaiming --

"WOW-- What a Ride!"

I absolutely LOVE this quote that my friend Heidi sent me in an email last year! Off the top of my head I can think of a few people in my life who embody such a philosophy, my Aunt Joyce and Uncle Floyd, Carden and Millie who are cousins of mine in their 90’s, Aunt Irene, and my kids, among others.

I pull that quote up and think it over every now and again, just to remember that life isn’t a dress rehearsal, we only get one shot.

(Photo above: Caroline was expressing her joy this snowy day!)

“There are days to fall and days to rise, days of making haste. Days of seeking out yourself, but no days that you can waste.” ~~From a John Denver song

The changing weather has perked me up again. Time for some fresh adventure, some digging in the garden, some hiking in the hills and on beaches, some new/old books to read, some shaking it up a little, shaking off winter, discovering something new.

I do appreciate winter, the slowing down, the pulling inside of home and heart, the pondering, the huddling together, the Holidays. It’s great. And it’s lasted long enough for this year.

Time for some action!

Spring has Sprung and Fall has Fell and Summer is as Hot was last summer. (My MOTHER always says MOTHER! If you knew her, you’d laugh.)

The girls and I are going to put on some peppy music and dance around! Celebrate Life!

Enjoy the Day.

Tom was crossing this river in Skagway, AK, after walking into that cave above him (no big ol' bears in there, thank the Lord!) and was trying not to slip on the gray glacial silt that's in the cold waters of Alaska.

Me driving through the Valley of the Gods in Utah; a mind blowing experience both in the scenery and the driving. Fantastic!