I’m not Lazy!

Lazy Learners

Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn but haven’t gotten around to? What is it and what’s stopping you from mastering the skill?


I don’t think it’s laziness; I think it’s fear of failure, which has always dogged me, as long as I can remember. There are many skills I’ve taught myself in the realm of needlework. I love fabric, texture, color, and the developing patterns in all kinds of needlework. I did take a beginner quilting class with a friend, and produced a couple of really nice quilts. I still have the top of a third one waiting to be built and quilted.  Time just gets away from me.

So I really can’t think of anything, at this stage of my life, that I’d like to learn and keep putting off.  Sorry, this morning I got nothin’  🙂



Spring on Breezy Hill

Life’s a Candy Store

You get to be a 6-year-old kid again for one day and one day only — plan your perfect 24 hours. Where do you go, what do you do, and with whom?


When I was six, I was a first-grader joyfully immersed in the wonderful world of learning to read. Whole books!  All to myself!  One of my favorites was calledSpring on Breezy Hill.  If I had time, I’d look for the author, but I’m in a rush this morning.

I found it quickly 🙂

(Spring on Breezy Hill, by Betsey McCurry, 1952)

Anyway, it was the story of a little girl (me, of course, in my daydreams) who went to visit her aunt and uncle for the summer. They lived in a lovely place called Breezy Hill, and they had a farm.

It was every little girl’s dream farm.  Baby animals everywhere you looked, and they all cooperated with being hugged and snuggled. Rabbits, kittens, peeps, ducklings, piglets, calves, and best of all, brand new horses!  Oh, my heart!

I don’t remember the girl’s name anymore. It doesn’t really matter, because it was myself I was seeing.  I got to taste fresh milk right from the cow.  I got to see how to make butter and cheese. I got to help pick vegetables right from the garden and eat them fresh. Such tomatoes!  And there were fruit trees, but of course it was spring, so there wasn’t much fresh fruit yet. But how I loved the beautiful flowers that bloomed on the trees!

And speaking of flowers, there were zillions of them.  Wildflowers in the meadow, cultivated flowers in the yard and the gardens. I still love flowers.

I helped my aunt hang freshly washed sheets out to dry, and they smelled better than candy when they were placed fresh from the line onto my bed.

I slept to the sound of tree frogs and crickets, and I was never afraid in a storm because my aunt and uncle always left my door open so I could see the light from the hall.

I often woke up to the wonderful aroma of fresh bread, or bacon and eggs. It was not a hardship to get up early when those delicious smells came tiptoing into my room and up my nose.

Yes, I’d like to go back there when everything was new, fresh, and innocent.

It was a wonderful book.


Soul Mates?

Yin to My Yang

How do you define the term “soulmate,” and do you believe in the existence of such a person — for you?


I don’t know, I kind of tend toward the vive le difference school of thinking.  My mate of 46 years does NOT share all of my enthusiasms, nor do I share all of his. The important things, yes.  Our faith, our world-view, our love for our children and grandchildren; our appreciation of God’s creation, including last night’s amazing supermoon eclipse. We sat in our porch rockers out on the grass and enjoyed the show, which was not completely obscured by clouds as it was for so many.

We both enjoy good music, and we like the same retro-TV shows. Before Terry’s injury and my back issues, we enjoyed walking together. Long walks. He especially enjoyed the woods.  I’d sooner opt for an ocean shore. But we’ve walked probably hundreds of miles together.

Honestly, though, I think it’s  the ways we differ that make us work so well together:

He’s a mechanical genius.  I can use a screwdriver or pliers when I need to.

He’s a perfectionist.  I just want to get the job done.

He enjoys always having a project, doesn’t want to sit still.  I enjoy being quiet, curled up with a good book and a cup of tea for an indefinite period of time.

I love to read for relaxation and enjoyment.  He reads in self-defense, after so many years of living with a bookworm. But he’d rather be fixing, making, building something.

He’s a morning Tigger.  I’m a morning Eeyore.  He just seems to be compelled to talk in the morning, and I just want to be quiet. Flip that in the evening.

He loves liver.  I won’t have it in the house. He can have it when we (rarely) go to the diner. And that’s another thing.  I love eating out. He doesn’t like it one bit.  He usually wins on this one.  I’ve learned to pick my battles.

This is a short list.  As I think about it, I’m convinced that it’s the differences as much as the similarities that make our marriage work. Sometimes the differences drive me nuts. He tends to be oblivious to the differences, and that can drive me nuts, too. I don’t understand oblivious.

Over the years, we’ve laughed and cried together. We’ve been furiously angry and deliriously happy.  The longer we live, the more we’ve blended the differences and made them workable. So if that’s what makes a soulmate, then okay. I guess that’s what we are.



Just a Smile

Pay It Forward

Tell us about a time when you responded to an act of kindness with one of your own.


The woman in the motorized cart cruised the aisles of the superstore, doing her best to stay out of the way of people who could walk faster than her cart could roll. She paused at the end of each aisle, peering around display cases before she ventured out into the next aisle.

Most people were kind. There were always those who, just by their nature, were impatient and sometimes rude, but she took it in stride. “Someday,” she thought, “that person will need to use a cart like this, and then they’ll know what it is to feel helpless. No fun.”

She was very thankful  for the stores that provided these dandy little carts.  They made it possible for her to do her own shopping, and not to be dependent on others.

Children were sometimes difficult in the stores. They could get in the way, and she was always very watchful if there were little kids  running loose.  She certainly didn’t want to do any harm.

One morning, as she cruised toward the checkout stands, she noticed a little boy who looked to be about six or seven. He was holding the hand of his little sister, and he didn’t look a bit happy.  He gazed at her with gravity beyond his years as she approached.

She smiled at him.

And everything changed. He smiled back, and it was like the sun coming out from behind black clouds.  “Hi,” he said. And, unusual for her, she decided to stop.

“Hi!  How are you today?”

“Are you sick?”  he asked, a look of concern on his face.

“No, I’m not sick. I just have a very sore back, and it hurts me to walk.”

“So that is why you use the cart, right?  So your back doesn’t hurt?”

“Yes, that’s right. Is this your sister?”  The little girl was beautiful. Both the children had glossy black hair and enormous chocolate eyes.

“Yes. She is Maria. Is your back going to get better?”

“Well, yes, if I’m careful it should feel okay for a long time. It’s very nice of you to ask.”

Just about then, the children’s mother turned and realized her kids were in a conversation with a complete stranger. “I”m so sorry,” she said to the older woman. “I’ve tried to teach them not to bother people.”

“You’ve done a very good job. Your children are delightful.”  She smiled again at the little boy, said goodbye, and motored off to pay for her groceries. And she thought the world would certainly be a better place if a simple smile could reap such a pleasant reward all the time.


What a Day That Will Be!

Out of Reach

Write about the one X that got away — a person, an experience, a place you wanted to visit. How much would you change about your life to have it within reach again?


We just got word this morning that a friend of over 40 years’ standing died last night. He had pancreatic cancer, and made a heroic effort to overcome it. He survived much longer than the doctors had predicted.  I suppose, in a sense, he “got away,” and we are grieving his loss, as well as grieving for his wife and family. He was a good and godly man, and his influence will be missed.

But would I ask him to come back, if that were possible?

No. Not even close.  I believe he is rejoicing in heaven at this moment, united with the Lord he loved and served faithfully.  He is free of cancer, never to have another moment of illness or pain.

The Bible says there is no time in heaven. I have a hard time getting my head around that one, but I remember trying to encourage my mom in the last couple of weeks before she died that she would see us all again soon–that it would seem as if no time had passed for her before we were in heaven with her.  It may be many years for us here on earth, but for her, no time will have passed.

We have so many loved ones who have already gone, and we miss them. We would not, however, call anyone back from the wonders they are enjoying with the Lord.


My Skiing Stories

Night and Day

Have you ever had an experience that was amazing the first time, but terrible the second time around? Or vice versa? What made it different the second time?


The first time I went skiing was pretty amazing. My husband, then fiance, was an experienced and competent skiier.   I was with a group from my college, and we were on an excursion to Buck Hill in Minneapolis.  Terry had planned to meet us there, and he spent the afternoon teaching me the ins and outs of learning to ski.  I had a great time, and did pretty well for a novice.

What was really fun was that most of the people I was with had no idea who Terry was, and just assumed that he was a ski instructor who worked for Buck Hill, and had taken a shine to me.  I didn’t disillusion them until we were on our way home, when I displayed my engagement ring and told them who the “ski instructor” really was.

That was an amazing experience.

The next time I remember going skiing was after we were married and  had our first baby.  Terry was skiing with Mike strapped safely into a carrier on his back, and Mike seemed to be enjoying himself. His cheeks grew rosy as he laughed his way down the hills with his dad.

I had elected to stay on the bunny hill, still not sure of myself. I was wearing a long scarf wrapped securely around my neck, or so I thought. I was skiing down the hill, then going back up by way of the rope tow. What I wasn’t paying attention to was that my scarf had come unwound, and I didn’t realize it had become tangled with the rope line until I was already choking.  As the pressure increased, I grew slightly frantic, waving my arms around and trying to get someone’s attention that I was in trouble.

Good thing for me that the rope tow operator kept his eyes open for just such emergencies, and he stopped the tow. Someone helped me get my scarf untangled, and the operator said, “New skiier, right?  Experienced skiiers don’t wear long scarves around their necks.  A person could suffocate that way.”  I was thoroughly embarrassed.  The heat from my blushing face probably melted a few inches of snow.

That was not such an amazing experience.


A Fairy Tale

A Storybook Day

You have to spend one day as or with your favorite fictional character. Which one would it be and what would you do?


The sky was a vast blue canopy, dotted with dandelion-puff clouds that were driven by a summer breeze.  Now and then, an eagle would bee-line across the horizon, searching the nearby river for its next snack.

Heidi and I sat on our jackets in the sweetgrass, both chewing on fresh mountain clover. Knees pulled up under our dirndl skirts and arms clasped around our knees, we watched in silence as nature performed for us. The sun was a welcome spotlight, keeping us comfortable on the chilly mountainside.

“What shall we do?”  asked Heidi.

“I like what we’re doing now just fine,” I replied.

“Oh, but there’s so much for me to show you.  I love watching the goats, and they’re not far from here.”

“Well, sure, we can do that.  But I have an idea it’s not the goats so much as it’s the goatherd.” I smiled at her quick flush and lowered eyelids.

So we gathered up the hamper that contained our food for the day and began our trek to the next high meadow, where Peter sat watch on his little herd.  We could hear them bleating.  It wasn’t long before they came into view, and Peter stood and waved his cap at us.

“Hey!  What are you doing so high up the mountain this early in the day?”

“I wanted Linda to see your goats,” called Heidi.  “She’s never seen a herd before, can you imagine?”

We sat on warm, flat rocks and watched.  The new babies were full of the joy of being alive, and made me want to skip, hop, jump and run just as they did. I couldn’t help but smile as I enjoyed their antics.

But Heidi was restless.

“Come on.  I want to show you my secret place,” she called as she skipped off in a hurry.

We walked for maybe twenty minutes, encouraged by the rippling of the river and the pushy breeze behind us. When Heidi stopped, she pointed at what seemed to be nothing more than wild shrubbery dotted with blossoms that she said would soon be berries.

“Come on, follow me, and go exactly where I go,” she said.

On our hands and knees, we crawled under the shrubbery.  It was quickly dark, earth-smelling, and chilly. We crawled for only a few minutes before Heidi stopped, turned and smiled at me, and said, “What do you think?”

To my utter amazement, we were in a small clearing that was densely surrounded by vegetation, including tall mountain pines. But there was sunlight streaming through the trees, making our clearing warm and bright. It was full of lupine and other wild flowers that I didn’t know, and it smelled of grass, flowers, earth, and pine.

“I come here when I need to be alone,” said Heidi.  “Sometimes I don’t even want Peter.  I just want to be alone to think and dream and sleep if I feel like it.  No one has ever found me here.  It feels very safe and private.”

“Yes, I can see how you would love coming here,” I replied. “Are you hungry?  My stomach is growling.”  So we unpacked the hamper, enjoying good goatcheese, brown bread, and fresh milk in a stoppered bottle.  For dessert there were little pies that Heidi and I had made the previous day. We ate our fill, then stretched out and fell asleep under the friendly warmth of the sun.

Later, as we made our way back to Grandfather’s cabin, I told Heidi I thought she had the best life in the world, and that I wished I could stay longer.

“Well, you can always come back whenever you want.  Just read my book!”


You’re Just Like Your Mother/Father!

I’ve Become My Parents

Do you ever find yourself doing something your parents used to do when you were a kid, despite the fact you hated it back then?


  I get my body shape and my eyes from my mother. She was short, and struggled with her weight until  the last ten years or so of her life. When she died, she was tiny.

Physically, I seem to share her weaknesses.  Lower back pain, short stumpy legs,  adult-onset diabetes.   And the gap between my two front teeth.

Some people think I look more like my dad’s side of the family.  There’s no denying the strong gene pool there.  But I think I resemble him more in my areas of interest and my intellectual pursuits as much, if not more, than in physical likeness.

The thing is, my mom and dad were more like one person than two. They were married for almost 51 years. Some of those years were really hard.  They were part of the Great Generation,  with all the strengths and all the baggage that goes along with it. But as a combined force, they were strong. They shared a very strong faith in God. They loved each other. They cared about world events, and they cared about their friends and family.  They understod the importance of working hard and making your own way. They both grew up hardscrabble, and they were very proud of my sister and me when we earned master’s degrees in our separate vocations.

They were proud to be Americans.  They wouldn’t have understood the morass of self-loathing that has afflicted America as a country since revisionist historians have made us out, as a nation, to be responsible for most of the world’s ills.  They wouldn’t have understood a President who made a world tour apologizing to everyone for our existence.

I don’t understand it, either. I am very like both my parents in my politics, my faith, my work ethic, and my loyalty to my family.

I think that’s a good thing.

Mom, Dad, my sister Sandy, and Me (age 2) My brother wasn't born until 12 years later.
Dad, me (age 2) Sandy, and Mom. My brother wasn’t born until 12 years later.