I find myself suddenly half a century old and wonder how that happened so fast! As I look back on the past three decades since I became an adult and flew off to college, I realize how much has happened, so many seasons of life have come and gone at a dizzying pace. College degrees have been earned, I married the love of my life, there have been moves across the country, two houses have been purchased, babies were born and life has happened in an amazing way. There has been so much growth, fun and adventures I didn’t see coming. The cyclone of life has swept me up in it! The winds are slowing down now.

I see my life in seasons. The season of new beginnings was childhood. The season of flying the nest was college years. The season of young adulting was my 20s, where I thought I had everything figured out, especially parenting before I had kids. The season of the cyclone was babies, toddlers and teenagers. Parenting has been my cyclone season of life. Never did I expect 20 years to pass like two weeks, but somehow in some unexplainable way it has defied all logic and here I am. I stand on the cusp between parenting and empty nesting.

I find myself redefining and shaping what the next season will be. There are so many questions buzzing around my head. How do I want to spend the time I have left on earth? What are the dreams that feel unfulfilled? What are my priorities? Where should I invest my time, talent, resources and heart? Who is my tribe? Where do I fit in? The cyclone season never really gave me enough spare time and brain bandwidth to purposefully choose and define what I wanted to do with precious time because kids. Until now.

Today I took a day to rest. When I mean rest, I mean rest like I haven’t done in decades. I wasn’t in a sick stupor, where rest felt like labor. I rested for peace and health. No one said my name once, no one asked for help or needed me for 8 hours. I purposefully rested, took a long luxurious shower, put on fuzzy socks and read a book, sipped coffee and rested. What a luxury!  For once in a very long time I felt justified in giving myself rest and a realization occured as the guilt lifted. Self-care should be part of my new season. Not like a New Year’s resolution, to be made and forgotten next week. I mean making self-care a part of my foundation for living.

An epiphany occured during a day of rest. That is just what I needed as I head into this new season of life as I begin the series  of choices that will chart my next season of life. This season will be the empty nest, but it shall be full, very full of new adventures balanced with rest.

Be blessed❤️


Here’s Johnny….

We made the decision to unplug from the $220 plus a month cable television service because we were feeling as if cable television was a depressing reflection of what seems so wrong with society today. We were also delighted to discover that we do not miss handing over hundreds of dollars each month for viewing what we felt was unworthy of our time spent. Lo and behold, we also made the discovery that there are 40 plus HD FREE broadcast channels available, and all that is required is an inexpensive HD antenna added to our HD televisions. Now here comes the best part……….

Heeeeeeeeeere’s Johnny!

We are relics, as we are GIDDY to welcome back Johnny Carson into our bedtime television watching routine. We both grew up with Johnny Carson on the TV and watching the reruns of his late night talk show reminds us of polite decency, clean humor and no mean political partisanship injected into every topic or joke. What a breath of fresh air! We were sick of the late night shows reflecting and promoting the division and hate that seems to be thick in almost all television media today. We felt even stupid paying hundreds each month just to be disgusted by media. Now we get these FREE channels, like MeTV and Decades that play all of our favorite tv shows from our youth. These shows that have clean humor, themes about neighbors being friends, helping one another, enjoying life and being part of a community, people solving problems and just being a part of each other’s daily lives.

Wheezy and George….what a pair! Makes us laugh just because George is always frustrating Wheezy, and we can all relate! Their goofy neighbors always play a role, mixing up the plot.

Redd Foxx’s character was always expecting “the big one”, annoying his son, but muddling through life together.

Mama is everyone’s sassy crazy mama or zany auntie, navigating a multi-generational family life.

Oh, and Carol Burnett and her cast is the definition of slapstick and clean comedy.

Then there are these oldies but goodies, like Petticoat Junction, where the plot is simple, wholesome and silly, but still entertaining.

Then there is everyone’s favorite teacher and his sweat hogs, which was a comedic and often poignant look at how a group of kids from different backgrounds and cultures come together to face the challenges of teens growing into adults with such a great teacher and mentor, Mr. Kotter.

So we chose to unplug the media that was bringing into our home messages of hate, contention, division, partisanship, and violence. The result for us is peace and money saved. What a win-win in the world we see unfolding today. We choose love, lightness, and peace. Even the smallest of choices, in our case television viewing, can have the largest of impact.

Television viewing has a larger impact on your mind than what most people assume.

The world can be a better place, one household at a time, one choice at a time.

❤️be blessed.

More than I deserve…

Lately I have been on a roll. Everything that could go wrong has and everything has either broken or is in need of repair and well, as my long time friend and farrier Justin says, “I’ve got the Tidy Bowl touch! Everything I touch goes right down the toilet!” So I’ve been scoring in the mishaps category. If I knew anything about baseball, which I don’t, I could say I’m batting 1,000. Those mishaps seem to cost about double what was “estimated”.  So I feel I have had more mishaps than I deserve. The following list is a little sample.

1. The neighbor hit my car with his lawn mower and caused body damage and nearly the next day a rock flew into my windshield and broke it badly. The body cost was twice the estimate.

2. The truck needed new front brakes we managed to ruin the rotors by not getting the brakes fixed soon enough- double cost!

3. Fireplace sweeping has turned into a fireplace flue restoration project with three visits instead of one- triple that expense!

4. While chimney guy was here, an important peg to the fireplace screen somehow magically disappeared and now the rigid screen is now broken! Of course they don’t sell that tiny part, but will sell an entire new enclosure! 

5. We have newly figured out that our cat Mayflower has a hyper thyroid and needs either twice daily medicine for life or a one time radiation treatment, both cost a fortune.

I won’t continue, but you get the general idea! Life seems to happen all at once. 

As my week progressed and I began to feel really stuck in the miry clay of life and I began to sink, reduced to sending a teary text message from the parking lot of Fred Meyer to Bill, just to let a little of my frustrations go and wallow in my misfortune. Before I sent the text, he called me and listened, simply saying, “It will be okay. Things will get better.” Maybe that’s all we need to hear, some small but possibly unbelievable reassurance that life will improve and it can’t go on like this forever. The rain never lasts forever and there will be sun again. For a moment I was reminded of this…

…and not everything could possibly keep going down the toilet and I would not sink forever deeper and deeper if I just trusted. 

That was yesterday and today I found myself standing again on more solid ground. For no reason at all, the auto shop called to apologize for their mistake. They had overcharged me and it was a “learning lessson” for a new employee who billed me incorrectly and they were making good on the estimate. I sure didn’t expect that. My windshield and body damage are all repaired. I have my car back! 

My friend Pam, where I keep my mini horse Romeo came by out of the blue with a gift she bought me. She wanted to gift me some new wool boots, just because I took care of her horses during her two fall trips and she is just an all around thoughtful person. How kind and thoughtful. 💕

My mom brought me this cute Halloween planter for my front porch, quite out of the blue. This made me smile! 

My roses and Hollyhocks are putting on somewhat of a rare late summer blooming.  What a delicious and unexpected treat for September. 

Local honey crisp apples are in season! 

My friend Pam made it through a difficult surgery and is on the mend at home. She has had a rough year this year and I would do anything I could to help things be better.

 Mayflower has agreed to eat the liquid medicine that I put on her food morning and night and she seems like she is already feeling better. What seemed like a burden now feels like a blessing because what is most important is that our kitty feels well.

The chimney sweeper will be back next week so we can proceed with making our chimney safe again for warm fires this winter. I have a lots of firewood all ready for chilly days when a warm fire will be enjoyed soon.

We are a month into our final year of homeschooling and it could not be better because this year, Brady has truly enjoyed sharing his 8th grade experience with his best friend Paul. The two are so much alike and they are so blessed with friendship. Both boys are growing and learning so much on this path that is quickly leading to high school. Brady is really LOVING his US History class this year as well as all of his hard working teachers at ORCA. 

And for no reason at all, out of the clear blue, I am blessed more than I deserve and I’m feeling like the ground under me is firm again. If only I would trust more and worry less. 

Be blessed. 💕

Chimneys, gunk and glaze and old homes….

I learned something new yesterday, some new vocabulary, some new knowledge about my century home. I learned about this new term as a young chimney sweep ushered me into my living room with a flashlight in hand. He gestured with his sooty hand up into the darkness of the chimney flue and said, “Look up there! See that black crusty stuff that looks like burnt pizza crust? That’s Stage 3 Glaze creosote.”

Anything that uses the terms “stage 3” cannot be a good thing in my way of thinking. Of course, the cure for this will take more visits, a chemical treatment, 10 hot fires and an additional sweeping. Essentially, I need to throw some more money up the flue and I’ll probably be getting to know my chimney sweeper by first name.

I would like to think of my gunk encrusted masonry like this- delicious BBQ ribs, so I won’t get so caught up on the expensive process to repair and restore. But you see, without the renewal and gunk removal, my entire house could burn down. So, like in life, we often must forge forward with an unpleasant process of removing gunk to be whole.

This old house has taught us many lessons in renewal. The first lesson is there is value in restoration and not throwing away what is in need of repair. There is a sense of satisfaction when you clean and repair. We have painstakingly put back every detail in our century home to as close to original as possible. Using a Sears and Roebuck house kit catalog, we were able to restore our bathroom as close to original as we could down to the tiny details of wood work moldings. A 1″ hex tile floor, claw foot tub and lighting replaces what was a rusted tub, 1970s blue lotus flower tile and faux oak wood paneling.

It took us 23 years to restore this Murphy style folding gate leg table in our original kitchen, but dog gone it, we got it done. I looked and looked for old growth straight grained fir for the table top and I finally found an old church pew that we could mill for a top. 23 YEARS of looking, waiting and finally restored. Details, patience, diligence and attention to detail.

We restored the dining room by replacing hardware with architecturally correct hardware and found the perfect restored vintage pendant lamp to replace the cheap black lacquer and gold chandelier that hung over the dining room table.

We sifted through salvage yards until we found this enameled sink basin that would fit in the exact size opening on our original fir counter tops. We could have easily gotten a new sink at a big box store and replaced the counter tops to fit the sink, but we chose to do the opposite and save the counter tops and go on the intensive treasure hunt for the one in a million sized sink. We found one and it is restored.

While it would have been more fashionable and convenient to gut and remodel, we chose to slowly restore to original. The lessons in the gunk and glaze is in the hard work of searching and finding.

What is old is new. What is broken is mended. What is partial is whole. What is lost is found.

This long lesson has spanned nearly half of our adult lives. A demonstration to us in life about details AND the big picture. While this restoration and the details may not matter to someone else’s eye and could go completely unnoticed, maybe even chucked onto the curb in a free pile someday, it has taught us much.

Some lessons are deeper than surface level and are hidden in an experience and journey. We may not choose to see the author, the director, the creator, but little lessons in life woven in the form of gunk and glazed mason chimneys can often end up finding what has been lost.

Be blessed. ❤️

Holding pattern and falling…

Fall is the time when the trees surrender their leaves down onto the earth. As the beautiful colors fade, the gradual decay feeds the earth and spring will bring green and new life. I patiently wait for the present leaves to change colors, signaling the change of seasons that will usher in the darkness and dampness of winter.

I remain in this holding pattern of not still summer, not yet fall, not yet colorful and not still verdant. The flowers are hungry and dry and are getting sleepy. This is the waiting time, the holding still, the looking up and expecting the beauty to unfold, but not knowing when, but just waiting, anticipating.

The colors finally appear as I take in the last of what was and look forward to what is to be. Seasons of life are often reflective of nature. 🍁 Waiting.<<

Fresh Oregon berry crisp- one of the very bestest things about Oregon berry season…some sweet memories and tastiness.

Growing up in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, specifically in Forest Grove, come June 1st we would be released early from school to pick berries on local farms on all kid crews. You had to be going into the 5th grade to work. If you were really fast and hard working, your field boss might recommend you to work on the picker machines. I was one of those lucky kids and teenagers who could earn money for school clothes, spending money, and Christmas money working for a local Berry Farm called Love’s Berry Farm. It was hard work, but we worked along listening to our transistor radio, drinking Pop Shop Pop, joking around, all while making about $1.25-$1.75 a flat. I could pick about 16-23 flats a day, netting me about $1000 a summer after working June days in the strawberry fields and July nights on the picker machine. That was a lot of money during the early 80s and it provided me with what I needed and wanted. It also taught me how to work and work hard. Getting on the berry bus at 5:30am in the summer taught many lessons about constancy, the value of going to bed early, and what earning a living would be like later.

Fast forward about 30 years….. I’m working for this beautiful Berry Farm owned by one of the nicest farmers around, Dave Heikes. He is best friends with Jim Love, the owner of the farm that provided me with work throughout my youth, providing me with school shoes, clothes, college money, and all that growing up entails. Life has a way of coming around in full circle, doesn’t it?  I know these crops- strawberries, blueberries, black caps, raspberries, boysenberries, and all the wonderful foods you can make with them-jam, jellies, cobblers, pies, syrups, milkshakes, and the list goes on. Selling fresh berries is a pleasure and customers come happy and leave happier as they tote off the flats. They enjoy sharing what they are going to do with the fruit. They share similar memories about growing up working on our local farms. This is probably my dream job.

So, berries were a large part of childhood as I know they were a part of yours too if you were raised here. Our grandmas taught us how to make cooked or canned jams, they fed us breakfast berry cobblers or fresh pies for Sunday supper. This brings me to fresh baked mixed berry crisp.

10 Cups of fresh mixed rinsed berries, placed in your favorite baking dishes. Easy peasy.

Don’t look but there is *some* unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks) added to old fashioned oats, granulated and brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, a little salt, a couple of teaspoons of vanilla…as my grandma would say, “This will cure what ails ya.” She lived to be 90+, so I’ll go with that. 

Mix- you have a buttery, oatmeal, sugary cookie crumble for the top.

Top it while eating some. (Don’t forget that step!)

Into a 350 oven until it looks like….

an angel dropped this down from heaven.

Now we have come full circle again. This is what can be done with these fresh and perfectly sweet Oregon berries. Memories of growing up in the Willamette Valley, working for my current boss’ best buddy, making a fresh berry crisp like my grandma did and ending with a sweet breakfast.

Oh the bounty of life and the harvest. 

Be blessed friends.

Stop and smell the roses…

I’ve been really busy, as busy as a bee. While I have been busy, my flowers have been busy too, putting on their annual display of prettiest blooms. After pruning and watering in the cool of the evening, I stopped to smell the roses and take in all the beauty of the garden. It is my paycheck for all the tending the rest of the year. 

My French and English Lavender is covered in bees.

This rose opened in a triple blossom, making a bouquet all of its own.

Double delight is perfectly named because of it’s lovely scent and the vibrant blush against the creamy center. A double treat for both the eyes and nose.

I love the blush roses because I can’t always commit to just one color. This is a peace rose. I love it for what it stands for and that seems to be what we all desire the most.

Day lillies are named for the fact that each flower that opens lasts for one day and the next day a new one opens, replacing yesterday’s blossoms. This seems to reflect the circle of life. 

Orange day lillies remind me of orange creamcicles on hot July days. I think I might be craving a creamcicle now. Darn! I love how this variety is always reaching for the sun.

This is a new variety of hollyhock in my garden it is a creamy yellow one with a purple eye. The photo color makes it appear white, but it is more the color of buttercream frosting. Now I’m on to wanting a cupcake. Back to flowers. If I were a bee, I would tell all my bee friends about these hollyhocks. The pollen is so thick on these and the bees are always hanging out in them. I wonder if they are sweet, like cupcakes or vanilla birthday cake. 😂

Pink hollyhocks with mauve eyes. There is nothing ordinary about these striking flowers. I can’t figure out why so many people can’t seem to grow hollyhocks. I grow a natural fence with a wall of them. They give me no guff and come back year after year. I plant about 6 new ones each spring and so I have hollyhocks every summer. I buy them at Blooming Junction on Zion Church Road. If mine get rust on the leaves, it doesn’t affect their stunning flower show of 5-8′ towering stalks.  🌺 

Hydrangeas are heavy with their bestest blossoms in shades of lavender, periwinkle blue, mauve and baby pink, and sometimes many colors and shades all on one plant. I love to admire their watercolor like shades and thankfully, they don’t make me think of something yummy. 😋 well, maybe lemonade, or wedding cakes, or wedding or love and love is yummy in its own funny way. ♥️ So back to something yummy. 

What’s blooming in your garden? What do you flowers bring to your mind? 

Ahh summer.

Dear Summer,

I love you.  No, I adore you.   

I love your growing pastures and the horses that play.  


Warm night skies that are filled with stars….

Gardens that grow….

Sweet peaches and slow cooked food….

Time to just be.


Your biggest fan. ❤️


These are a few of my favorite things….


What are your favorite things about Christmas?  Is it your tree and the familiar ornaments you enjoy rediscovering each year?  For me, my teenager dressed like Waldo makes me laugh.  image

I love my continually napping dogs, sharing a blanket by the fire.image

I enjoy making soap and other home made items to give as gifts to friends and neighbors.


I love sitting around and cuddling the bunnies, while watching movies.  Which Christmas movie is your favorite?


My favorite is “It’s a Wonderful Life” because it is and I adore George Bailey.


What is your favorite Christmas cookie?  Mine are Russian Tea Cakes, served with Russian tea, of course.


Some of my favorite Christmas memories were shared with my grandparents.


I always think about them and remember the fun we had at Christmas.


I love it it when my family decides to try something non-traditional, like last year’s Christmas dinner.  We had a fresh crab feed.  My grandfather would have said, “This is the best Christmas dinner we have ever had! This is the best Christmas we have ever had!”  He said that every year.  He said that every holiday.  His announcement was predictably positive and appreciative!  We say this in his honor at each meal.  My grandmother would have giggled and said, “Yes Cecil!”


My my favorite decorations are my Christmas elves who hang out all over my kitchen. They are seen here working out in front of their gingerbread house. My grandmother’s tree was decorated in all elves like these.  They remind me of her.


I could go on forever about my favorite things about Christmas. Christmas is about memories, traditions, music, family, love, remembrance, time spent with loved ones, feeling the joy of the season and for us, celebrating the birth of Jesus.  I love Christmas and I hope your heart is filled and over flowing with joy and happiness.  Celebrate these little favorite and special things and be thankful.  The little things we love about Christmas are truly the most valuable gifts that cannot be bought or wrapped.  I’d love to read about your favorite things.

My Multi-Generational Home


It it is all I ever knew.  My mom, dad, brother, grandfather and grandmother all took me home from the hospital. I was “their baby.”  I came home to “our home”- all six of us.  Our home was a custom built duplex in our small town of Forest grove.  I grew up with two kitchens, two living rooms, two bathrooms, two dining rooms, two China cupboards, two sets of washers and dryers, two pianos, two yellow family station wagons, two sofas, two land line telephone numbers (503-357-2605 & 503-357-3918), two sets of parents.  Two sets-one house.  My parents and my grandparents lived under one roof with two addresses: 3333 and 3331 17th Place.  That was our family home.  Almost a city acre, a large garden, room to play with comfortable back porches for picnics.  They built it that way.  They planned it, purchased the large lot and built a home and life together.

image(Insert “a family” for “cities”)image

I would hear other children during show and tell share about “going to visit grandma and grandpa” and I remember thinking to myself , “How sad they live far away.  I get mine every day and all the time.”  I loved having my grandparents right there.  They were warm, generous, kind, active and taught me all sorts of old school skills like canning produce, old fashioned recipes, crochet, how to thoroughly clean a house, how to properly prune a rose bush, how to weed a garden, how to operate a pump and how to properly plan, plant and water a large garden.  I learned how to hem a skirt by hand, how to embroider tea towels, how to know when vegetables and ready to pick, and how to really get a bathtub squeaky clean.  I learned how to cut hair, how to give a permanent, how to properly set a table, how to play the piano, and how warm stewed tomatoes with cottage cheese and toast for breakfast on a frosty morning is actually quite yummy.  I learned that bacon and eggs can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.


My grandfather went into the rabbit business with me, funding my 4H rabbits and hutches. I listened to hours of stories of my grandma’s childhood on the farm and my grandfather’s stories of world war 1.  I truly understood what the Great Depression was like to live through.  I learned generosity to neighbors as my grandfather divided up and distributed all his extra produce to friends and neighbors for free.  There were sacks and boxes and bushels of organic produce for anyone who could use it.image

My grandparents became adoptive grandparents to all the neighborhood kids.  They often would hire us to weed, paying .25 cents a bucket.  They would always give wrapped Christmas presents to my closest friends. They were our audience for our outdoor talent shows and would come running if we fell while roller skating and would patch up our skinned knees and elbows. My grandpa volunteered at local stores as a very genuine Santa Claus and drove the zoo train for many years.  My friends would tell me how lucky I was to have my grandma and grandpa next door. My friends always called my grandparents granny and grandpa.  They loved all the kids.


So, this concept of “multi-generation living” is what I know.  I know first hand what a difference having two sets of parents living in my home made in my life.  Two loving sets of parents who were there for you, setting you straight, setting an example, holding you accountable and reinforcing right and wrong.  Living in our single family home feels quite strange.  It feels like I’m away at camp and I never am going home.  Having grandparents living far enough away that you have to drive or call is so foreign to me.  It feels so strange and wrong.  I keep looking to move, not because there is anything wrong with our house, but because I would like to live again in a multi-generational home.  I have found several homes lately that offer dual living.  I want that.  I could care less about how fancy, how big, how modern, how many bathrooms or the year it was built.  It is not that I want more help with my boys because I have passed that stage.  They are more independent now.  It is truly for the lifestyle and camaraderie you get from living with the mixed wisdom of multi-generations under one roof facing life and all the challenges together, every day, every storm and every celebration.


Grandmas will often take the tantrum ridden little one off your hands and straighten them up without batting an eye.  Sometimes they feed them chocolate cake before dinner to stop them from crying.  I like that, even though it blew my mind that giving chocolate cake to end a tantrum is quite counter intuitive to discipline.  Grandmothers can get away with it and the child adores them like they were the best person in the entire world.  Grandparents can put the fear into a sassy teen by asking a simple question followed by a long pause.  Suddenly, the point is driven home that “they know” and you best knock that off and now.  I like that too.  When you live in a multi- generational home, this happens daily as things arise, not just on a phone call or visit.  Okay, and we did fight, living in an extended family.  We did tell each other to “stuff it” or “shut your mouth”, but we always forgave, apologized and moved on.  My grandfather once, in a fit of angry feelings, announced he was moving to Mexico and we all burst out laughing, including him.  Mostly because he didn’t care much for Mexican cuisine and then we imagined what he would look like in a sombrero.  We were all nuts fallen from the same tree, but quite happy to be facing life together.



My grandparents lived long and full lives.  They were surrounded by love and they were the matriarch and patriarch of our family.  It seems to me that their happiness and contentment about how we lived together helped to make their very long, active and healthy retirement so enjoyable and so full of life.  It was a life lesson about caring for your loved ones to the end.  I saw courage, Faith, love and cohesiveness on a daily basis in our home.  I saw people who could disagree and settle matters in a family meeting in one of our living rooms or at our dining room table.  There were never grudges or arguments that lasted longer than 15 minutes.


So, I continue my daily life, with the disconnected lifestyle we are living, feeling like I’m walking a marathon with shoes that are two sizes too small.  We call, we have visits, my boys ask continuously when grandma and grandpa are going to come stay for a while.  They miss my brother’s family who lives in Colorado.


I am hard wired for togetherness.  It is part of my brain chemistry to cling to family, to care for loved ones, to absorb the words and wisdom of another and to go about life with the wisdom and charm of those older than myself.  It has been programmed and hard wired into every fiber of me.


I will gladly care for my parents until the end.  I watched my mother and dad care for my grandparents and vise versa.  I hope I can provide the same.  Meanwhile, I keep looking for a multi-generational home for our future blended family.  Don’t be too surprised if one day we pick up and move.  Now you know why.