walking in a

winter wonderland.

I wanted to get right out in it this morning before it started melting.

And I’m thinking about the heart. As beautiful as nature is I want my heart to be. The outward beauty of a person is only skin deep. But a beautiful heart is where life starts. Real life. A nourishing and peaceful life worth feasting on.

The beauty industry makes billions off of us. I don’t necessarily have a problem with that. I love new make up and nice shampoos and soaps and perfumes. These things have some value and help us take care of our bodies.

I would love to care for my heart’s beauty with as much attention to detail as I do my body and hair and skin. It’s a way of thinking that’s almost difficult because of the society we live in, but it’s not impossible. I have many friends who are down to earth, and lovely, and real. People who love me enough to tell me I’m wrong, people who protect what is good. People that make me feel safe enough to be authentic, too.

“God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.”

If I truly believe this, won’t I do what I can to guard my heart? To a certain extent, I naturally do things (like music and books and art) that nurture my heart, but I am also to guard it.

Years ago, I got to know someone who told me (when we first met) that her favorite Bible verse was Proverbs 4:23. She did well in mentioning church and God, convincing me of her faith which caused me to trust her. But as I became close friends with her I noticed that she had no regard for her heart or even my heart; she said ugly things, enjoyed perverse and dark behaviors, didn’t speak kindly of her close family, and started to influence me in the same behaviors, all the whole treating our friendship with either distance or closeness depending on the day. Things I would have never said before, I found myself saying. Even my thoughts were changing and my emotions were off the charts. Crying. Fear. Frustration. These are all signs of soul-poisoning.

How slowly and carefully evil can penetrate a vulnerable soul. Using scripture and pretty words to gain trust just as the serpent did in the garden of Eden, and still does. But we are not without hope and we are already more than conquerors.

Be careful. Don’t learn the hard way like I did when I was younger. Don’t pay as much attention to words and appearance as you do to behavior and patterns—-and observe everything. Guard your heart. Don’t trust to closeness any one or any church until you’ve seen how they behave.

Again, please please please be careful with your priceless heart. Guard it. Keep it open to beauty, art, music, wholesome things, keep it open in love and trust but GUARD IT. Like the treasure it is.

“Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” Proverbs 4:23

Evil is sneaky, confusing, dark, covert, hidden behind masks of light, demonic, dangerous, and causes deep pain in good people because eventually the mask comes off.

Pain that can and will be healed, yes. But I wish I had been more careful with my heart in several situations in my past. However, God forgives and redeems. “What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have Him, this Father of our Master Jesus!”

“Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.”

“Keep your eyes straight ahead: ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you.”

“Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.”

“God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.”

Finally in the month of March I’m settling on the word HEART as my word of the year 2023. It’s going to be fun to think about and grow in.

Hugs!!! To all of my friends here. I’m so glad to have such truly beautiful people surrounding me every day. So many that the ugly ones are twice as shocking. Lol.

We are truly blessed.


It’s right there, see it?

I have some nostalgia for the Corning “Butterfly Gold” pattern because that’s what we ate off when I was growing up. So just for happy memory’s sake, and because it always catches my eye, I have been slowly collecting very inexpensive pieces of it one dish at a time in order to sell as a “lot” on eBay. I have curly handled teacups, a darling bowl, a few useful small plates, and one lonely dinner plate —so I was pleased to find a dinner plate mixed up with other random stuff at a thrift store last week. But when I got to the register to pay for it (a dollar) I felt a chip on the edge. “I’m going to pass on this,” I explained with regret, “it has a chip.” While I paid for the teacups the guy at the register tossed the poor plate up and down in the air. “These things are unbreakable,” he reassured me.

The next morning I got a text from Target telling me that my prescription was ready. I hadn’t expected to go back to town again so soon but I knew it would be just wrong if I went to Target without also running into the thrift store again even though I had just shopped there the day before. It would just be wrong, I tell ya. So in I ran and right away I found a whole bunch of nice shiny new fiesta teacups and saucers. And then!! Yes! One of those “Butterfly Gold” Corelle plates!

As soon as I got home I set to work washing things up and listing them. I was humming and getting into the flow of washing and scrubbing stickers off everything and it was just so fun and satisfying. Maybe I was even smiling to myself. But when I went to wash the Corelle plate I realized…..

….it was that same stupid plate from the day before! The same chip the same exact plate! I actually bought it that time! Like, I told them it had a chip and they put it right back on the shelves! And I saw it (me!! of all people!) and put it in my cart — two days in a row!! and actually completely bought it with a clear happy conscience (on the second day)!

I screamed into the house. (No one was home) “I can’t believe I did that!!” I cried. I could not believe it.

And then I threw it away. I felt kind of bad to do so, it really seemed to want to belong to me, but what else could I do? I can’t just keep chipped plates. Later on I told my mom the story and we laughed and she said, “You know, they always said those plates were unbreakable but when you drop one on the floor it smashes into a thousand pieces. Shards!”

NH to CT

It took a Sarah and I seven hours. I’m laughing so hard. We drove separately from the boys and stopped many times:

1. A thrift store in Tilton, NH called Tilton Village Thrift. It was one of those quaint towns where Main Street has shops all up and down with parking on the slant in fronts of them. It was a little over 30 mins from our cabin and it was a first time visit. Cash only so we held hands and walked to the ATM in a nearby gas station. We bought some treasures and then checked out a consignment boutique down the sidewalk where Sarah found a gray Champion hoodie and I a silver ring with a purple stone.

Wearing rings is secretly a way I feel safe, like armor. Silly but helpful. A grounding technique, I put them on to face the day so to speak.

2. We were hungry and were told that a good place to eat was the Tilt’n Diner. It was about 10 minutes from the thrift store. It was pink!! There was a 15 minute wait for a table but we were able to sit in the car because they took my number and called when the table was ready. The waitress was friendly. I had coffee and Sarah had coke. We read our books while we waited for our food. She had Mac n cheese and I had a Philly steak sandwich. We saved room for dessert: chocolate layer cake for her and coconut cream pie for me. They make their own potato chips there. The fries were crispy and the coffee was perfect diner coffee. We enjoyed the atmosphere and decor very much.

3. With full bellies we drove to another new (to us) place called Antiques on Elm, in Manchester, NH. I didn’t have nearly enough time to see it all. It was a great antique place with lots of vendors and a great building. Good lighting, heated, and something for everyone. Friendly staff, calm vibe. We found some great things at nice prices. I will definitely stop again.

This hand painted folk art plate was my favorite find today. I just love strawberries on things.
In fact I also found a strawberry tile trivet for my eBay shop.

4. Starbucks

5. Gas station for bathroom break and a bag of combos to munch during the last half hour to home.

Seth said “What took you so long?? Were you driving like a granny?” Caleb brought my stuff inside and ate my leftovers. Rich gave me a hug. I could tell they were all glad to have me back home again.

We are all settled, I’m in bed while they watch Outer Banks together in the living room. I’m in here because I would much rather read. I’m putting aside my current read to read a book that came in the mail while I was gone. It’s called Behind the Dress by Christine Faour, “One woman’s life in a religious cult and the healing that came after.” It will be a quick but interesting book for my ongoing personal education of cults, high control groups, and abuse of any kind. Sounds pretty grim, but the education is necessary so I can be aware for myself and my family.

Much love! I hope you all had a lovely Sunday. I would enjoy hearing from you and any little interesting part of your day if you would like to share. Are you reading a good book? Do you like strawberry plates? Do you eat in pink diners? Do you hug your daughter in the middle of thrift stores?

content (written in NH)

My body sinks into the couch. My nerves are smooth peace. My muscles are soft. My feet are warm in socks and loose slippers. I’m wearing a thick sweater and sweatpants. “Down shifting” is my personal term for a busy person starting to relax, it takes some time but down we go. For years I was going going going. And now even when I’m busy I can be calm. Going through EMDR therapy last year changed my life. Radically. I am an all-around healthier woman. I knew what I wanted, knew it shouldn’t be that hard, and was finally handed the keys to the abundant life. Trauma therapy. Education. Experience. Growth.

I’ve been crushed, but I rose again.
-found at a thrift shop today-
Lunch with the darlings
Used books
I chose this one for the author—anyone recognize her? Also—the cover. I already started it. A world within.
Savoring and loving my little touches to our cabin, like this mirror and the prism hanging. (I love mirrors and prisms, don’t you?)
(Through the screen photo)
Treasured old Cookbooks from my dear Kara, and a vintage paint by number. Soy candle.
Signed old photography
Leaning over the porch railing
Cozy books. I’ve never stopped writing, even during the times I couldn’t write here on my blog. Naps. Wool blankets.
Dishes I’ve collected – mostly restaurant ware. All creams and browns and whites. Some with pink borders.
Staying hydrated with ice cold lemon cucumber water.
Caleb and Seth exploring the lake
Leaning over the porch railing, again.

I made a tossed salad for dinner. We have floury rolls and butter to go with it. Rich got the hot tub ready and Sarah’s about to go enjoy that. The boys are playing video games downstairs. It’s been a lovely day and it’s still only 6:30pm.

NOTHING can separate us from the love of God. If life is too hard right now, search and seek your answers. You will find them. He wants you to thrive and enjoy this life.

I love you, friends.

PS. She wrote Johnny Tremain.

and even better

“I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditations on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious.” Philippians 4:8-9

Yesterday I ended up not having the time to write….I had Bible Study at 10 downtown at the Methodist church. I go every week along with about five other ladies. The five other ladies average the age of about 85, it’s absolutely the highlight of my life currently. They are my inspiration. And part of the reason why I stopped dying my hair.

I went grocery shopping, and then ate lunch at home while watching the bird feeders outside the window. I have a rocking chair near enough to put my feet up in the windowsill. The afternoon sun shines in and usually a cat or two comes to watch the birds with me.

I went for a walk. I couldn’t resist collecting a few bottles and cans I found on the side of the road. I ended up with an armful and most were beer, so I wrapped my sweater around them, prompting Seth and Sarah to ask when I got back, “what is it? A cat? A dog?” Always wanting another pet to love…. Boy were they surprised to see it was empty cans. I jokingly call returning bottles and cans my “other side hustle”. I mean, it adds up! Ya know?

And then dearest Caleb had his last band concert. We got there early and as usual I couldn’t take my eyes off my son, in a sea of other children, I only saw him. The drummer boy. Spinning his sticks around. By the end Rich and I both had tears in our eyes, and his were rolling down his cheeks. So many years of these band performances and now they are over. I wonder if he will ever join a band ever again? It was hard for me to keep him in the HS band. I would NOT let him quit. He said he hated it. I can’t believe that’s entirely true. He did admit it looked good on his college transcript, to say he participated in four years of HS band.

He’s always drumming. Even my back is a drum when we hug.

This morning I took him to school. After that I drove to the store to get things for the kids for our road trip to NH this afternoon. I mailed boxes for eBay (china, glasses, and books) and talked to my sister on the phone on the way home.

I’ve been packing for the weekend. Trying to also think of myself and what I want to bring just for me. Books, tea, slippers, my robe, magazines, pens pencils and markers and my notebook. My headphones. I’m certainly not going to go and be everyone’s cook and cleaner and it’s just so lovely to have grown children to be with, I love this stage of life I’m in. Caleb is bringing his friend Dylan so it’s a nice even foursome of children. And Sarah the only girl. It works out just fine. She gets her own room. (Wink wink—yes it’s a bone of contention).

I enjoy keeping busy. By the end of the day I enjoy the tired feeling of a satisfying day. I’ve been sleeping so well, deeply with dreams.

Yesterday at Bible Study we were focused on Psalm 91; (I feminized it)

“Because she holds fast to me in love,

I will deliver her,

I will protect her,

because she knows my name.

When she calls to me, I will answer her;

I will be with her in trouble;

I will rescue her and honor her.

With long life I will satisfy her and

show her my salvation.” Ps. 91:14-16

And these promises are true, absolutely true and comforting like the most comfortable place you can imagine and even better than that. Reading the words, or listening to them being read out loud (I like to play the audio Message Bible as I work), changes our inward being. For me it’s a feeling deep peace and joy and love. Belonging to God and having Him care for me fills my soul with glorious light. I want to stay close to Him always and each moment.

Bird watching
Collecting trash….someday I’ll remember to take a bag!!!!
Wrapping up eBay sales
Leaving the school after the band concert last night
A selfie in the car as I was out and about yesterday

Happy weekend,

We are so loved.


Today I took Caleb for his follow up appointment regarding his knee which he injured during states (for wrestling). The doctor is recommending stitching the slightly torn meniscus together so it can heal properly. He was impressed that Caleb did as well as he did at states, placing sixth after twisting his knee and wrestling two more matches after hurting it. Caleb was relieved to know that all the caution was worthwhile, his wrestling ended that day for the season, and he has no choice but to miss spring sports.

After the appointment we went to IHOP because, as always, he was hungry. He’s the child who doesn’t ask for anything but food (or money, for food). If he sees me or even senses me in the house he finds me and tells me he’s so hungry. It’s half funny and half true, he’s a growing 17 year old, a senior this year in High School. I can’t hardly believe it. Rich is taking him to visit Liberty University at the end of this month.

We sat across from each other and had coffee and breakfast. It was lovely. He’s a very easy going, calm, unruffled personality. much like his Dad. I can depend on him if I remember if he’s home (because he’s quiet). As I ate my bacon and eggs I thought about how good it was to have one on one time with him and how next year it will be so different to have him away at school. No matter the personality, each one of my darlings are a huge part of my heart. So our breakfast together, “thanks” to an injured meniscus, was something I held dear and close to my heart as another memory to save and keep. My favorite Caleb in the universe.

“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” – Helen Keller


The kids had early dismissal today and Rich worked from home. I spent some time in the morning downstairs listing Easter things on my eBay shop, and then I wrapped up a (vintage, 1st edition) book to mail. After the post office I went along to Goodwill where I found some “brown drip glaze” Hull plates to bring home to sell, and some other odds and ends. Then a quick trip into the grocery store for dinner ingredients (tuna noodle casserole) and a sandwich lunch to eat as I drove. By the time I got back at 11:45 the children were home. Rich was making a big salad, and Sarah asked me to go get a friend of hers so they could giggle all afternoon. Back into the car I went, and on my way I stopped at an egg stand that I’ve been meaning to visit. Over the last six months we have lost all of our hens and ducks to wild predators and my heart can’t take the pain of losing anymore so at this time we have no plans to replace them. Thankfully there are people who sell extra eggs and today I found some selling for five dollars a dozen. It was a place right next to the main road into town, an easy driveway to maneuver, and the eggs were all stacked in a small refrigerator type cupboard with handwritten notes all over it like “smile you’re being videotaped” and “empty egg cartons needed”—in a man’s handwriting I’m fairly certain. Being sold using the “honor system” I threw in my ten dollars and selected two cartons and went on my way without seeing a single soul.

I was completely charmed? aghast? at the eggs. I personally can’t imagine putting chicken poop covered eggs out to sell, or a dozen minus one egg filled carton either. But the smell of unwashed eggs was nostalgic and I had to smile. Plus, the variety. I am especially pleased with the dark browns. All in all, I am completely grateful to have an egg supplier three miles from home.

or old

All my body fibers (all except the ones who requested coffee from under the covers) were weak and half asleep when my husband left for work but he kindly set a mug of of it down on the table by my bed as he said goodbye. it was 6:45.

It took fifteen minutes for me to come to enough state of wakefulness to get into a sitting position and *shakily reach for the coffee. It wasn’t that hot anymore. I was so tired.

And then in the silence my bedroom door slowly opened.

“I’m so sorry Mom”

“Caleb didn’t wake us up.”

“He said he told me last night to set my alarm.”

“And doesn’t he even know it doesn’t work? I tried it the other day but it just started bleeding……”


“No mom. BEEPING.”

Us? We? Is Seth here too? and Caleb?

(Starts to weep)

The queen was disturbed.

I sent for Caleb. He approached and brought me paper and a red marker (seemed fitting). After they dressed and ate, I sent them far far away with my royal horseman. (Their brother David).

*adverb. /ˈʃeɪkɪli/ /ˈʃeɪkɪli/ while shaking and feeling weak, often because you are ill, emotional or old.

how can I keep from…….

(in no particular order)

…..singing—even when I am confronted by evil I cannot stay sad, in every day of my life something has happened to lift my heart to praise God. And so I sing. Music is the food of love.

…..writing—the written word, to me, is easier to use than speaking.

……speaking—but when I have something to say I will say it.

….resting—I will never allow myself to feel guilty for not being able to keep up with others. I move at my own pace.

…..Loving—-lovers must love. I was made to love and I know this beyond doubt. love is the power that softens willing and able hearts. Without love I am nothing.

….mothering—so much of what I do is performed as “mother”; cleaning, tending, touching, mending, preaching, saying no, saying yes.

…..Reading—my escape, my mind opener

……exploring nature—because there is always something to be discovered.

…..Grieving—-because there is no pain like betrayal.

…..Looking up—because that is where God is.

…..adopting cats—-needs no explanation

…..taking photos—I want to remember. I want to share.

…learning, moving, laughing, being brave, questioning, thanking, creating. Living.