Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives…



Last week, the older grandchildren sat at the dining room table one afternoon and did a craft with Ama. I remembered this craft from VBS as a child, and I thought it would be something different and fun to do with the oldest three of the seven kids.

It took some patience and some concentration, but they did a great job.



When the vessel topples, the project changes, but it’s okay.

Even “messed up” can be beautiful.



Creating beauty can be gritty and painstakingly slow.

One row at a time, my dear, one row at a time.

In THIS situation, girls happen to be more patient than the boy.

IMG_3428Andrae’s simple beauty…so he could move on to something more exciting.


Their mom wouldn’t let them take their art home. “Sand will be EVERYWHERE, Mom. They will just end up in the trash.”

That’s okay. Ama has a shelf or two that could use some grandchildren art. And this Ama will notice them, be grateful for them, and smile.

I love these days of my life.


Noticer of the Good

Earth’s crammed with heaven…


This morning, I am grateful for the smell of dryer sheets and laundry piles that are shrinking.

I am grateful for the feel of a great pillow under my head.

I am grateful for the way Natia’s mouth curves into a smile as she sleeps.

I am grateful to see little kids on bicycles with towels wrapped around their necks, riding to swimming lessons on a cool summer morning…only in Small Town USA.

I am grateful for the reminder on Sunday to think of the things that make me smile.

I am grateful for the beauty of the extraordinary all around us that we so often take for granted.


I am grateful for ice in my water.

I am grateful for perennials that just bloom again and again without me having to be so conscientious and prepared.

I am grateful for our trees with names. Uncle Sy, Scooby, Dooby, and Doo, Gladys Kravitz, Mick the Syc…

I am grateful for homemade banana bread and grateful the kids left me lots of ripe bananas to use up.

I am grateful for the beauty of thunder boomers.

Summer storm


I am grateful for a job that allows me to work at home.

I am grateful that Sam and I pay bills together and he includes me in the finance story.

I am grateful that my Dad is walking so much. He inspires me to get back out there.

I am grateful for stamps that are not boring.

I am grateful for the emotions that overcome when you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the ordinary and the every day.

And I am grateful for a daughter who wanted to come and spend a week with her Mom and Step Dad.

“Earth’s crammed with heaven. And every common bush afire with God. But only he who sees, takes off his shoes. The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning




Never, never, never! Never enough for me…

Summer 2018 Rusty Tractor

Yesterday’s message at church was based on “The Greatest Showman.” WONDERFUL MESSAGE. I will listen to it again this week. But the music was also very powerful. And when a young woman came out and sang one of the themes to the movie, it brought back memories of just a couple of days earlier when I was upstairs working and the grandchildren were all downstairs playing. They were making lots of music, so I decided to go downstairs for a break and secretly record them. They were singing and dancing and putting on a show to the song, “Never Enough for Me” from the movie.


We got out of the pickup last night, and the first thing I saw were painted rocks on the ground, arranged in a nice little circle, accompanied by a toy snake, perfectly positioned for scaring Ama.

And then I walked inside and saw a ziploc bag of spent fireworks confetti collected by my 4-year-old granddaughter.


Walked a little further and there was a stainless fridge covered in sticky.

I made my way up the stairs, weary from a 5 hour drive, and when I turned on the bathroom light, there was a red toothbrush, suction-cupped to the mirror.


I was too tired to notice more, and to bed we went, eager to get a good night’s sleep, no bedtime story about Mother Bruce or Sophia’s Terrible Temper Tantrum.

Mother Bruce

Mother Bruce 1

This morning, I made my way back to that bathroom. There, on the floor, was a little hair band with some granddaughter hair surrounding it, next to a sticker from new clothes, most likely from the local Shopko, stuck to the floor.


There was no morning hug from a child with curly locks. There was no “Greatest Showman” singing and dancing while I worked. There were no distractions…


The girls

The elephant stomping when Lele wakes up is gone. The sweet little “Yes!” from 3-year-old Ande is just a memory in my head. The vision of Andrae playing catch outside is like “Field of Dreams…” just a fading memory. ‘Nissa’s morning hug and eagerness to please, Annie’s helpfulness and sweet demeanor, so, so missed. Aynjel on my hip with her crinkled up face when she smiles big, and the new cooing from Ansyr as her Mama talks big to her…

Like the fireflies in the jars on the nightstands, here for just a time…but we had to let them go.

Fireflies in a jar

Beds are stripped, floors are dirty, fingerprints are everywhere, yard is dotted with toys, and there are remnants of safe fireworks all over the driveway.

And it’s never, never, never…never enough, for me.

But I am so very grateful for the time we had. Thank you, Karissa and Mandrae. Thank you, Lord.

Summer 2018 Sunset


The stress of pooping in aisle 12.


My life is pretty much stress-free. I really have no complaints. I live in Mayberry USA where all is calm, all is bright. My husband is the best in the world, literally. My daughters are beautiful and living full and happy lives. My grandchildren are healthy. I have a dog who wags her tail when she sees me. I have the best job in the world going on five years now.

Last week, my sister played Mom and said we should go to Portland to our aunt’s funeral service. Included in the trip was a short visit with my daughter Katrina and her family. Also included in the trip was a surprise traveler, our “adopted” sister, Michelle, who went along for the ride and some crazy entertainment.

Here’s the “no stress trip” details:

  1. Make it a fast 24 hour trip
  2. Rent a Jaguar because it’s good to be Angela, and then can’t remember the street name to locate rental car after dinner
  3. Fit in as much time as possible with daughter and grandchildren
  4. Fit in as much time as possible to visit at funeral before having to return Jaguar in perfect condition six hours before flight
  5. Wrangle two crazy sisters on the streets of Portland and then again for the five hour wait in an airport
  6. Travel back to KC at 1 am,  arriving in the same funeral clothes with sandpaper in the eyes the next morning, ready to tackle city errand-running and a five hour drive back to Mayberry USA

Stress 3

  1. Drop off two crazy sisters, unload and load at Dad’s, pick up the Natia dog, track down granite countertops for bathroom vanity, get list from Sam of all the things at Home Depot, go to Home Depot with Natia dog on leash, begin hunting down the list, call Sam with questions in aisle 12 about faucets, notice other shoppers staring at Natia dog who happens to be pooping
  2. Panic

Stress 2

  1. COUNT BLESSINGS that someone’s used paper towel happens to be nearby in cabinetry and forget that it might be loaded with E-coli or the hantavirus, clean up dog poop, push cart full of tile and faucets and NAUGHTY DOG to the bathroom to throw away MAJOR BLESSING of a used-used paper towel and grab more to go back to aisle 12 to finish clean up
  2. Call Sam back and deal with a plumbing novice in aisle 9 who has no clue about P-traps
  3. Pay a fortune at the checkout and stress that someone is going to track down the dog who pooped in aisle 12 before we get out of Home Depot all the while sweating from the heat and the no shower and the funeral clothes and the stress
  4. Drive as quickly as possible to the nearest Taco Johns for some Mom-Stress-Eating for the five hour drive back to Mayberry USA

I am grateful for potato ole’s and tacos and memories of Mom and not caring sometimes about being overweight.

I am grateful for a great trip FULL of unforgettable.

I am grateful that I will be able to say I saw BOTH of my daughters in one week, and I am so grateful for the anticipation of seeing Karissa and family this weekend.

I am grateful to be back in Mayberry USA with lots of hammering and drilling and sawing…and a sleeping NAUGHTIA at my feet.

Stress 4

This is my story.

Blessed Assurance

This is my song.

I have been focusing on the fruits of the Spirit lately. As Sam and I read through Bob Goff’s “Everybody Always,” it has been good for me to re-evaluate how I’m doing with the fruits gauge. And interestingly enough, because this is how God works, one of our church devotions this week talked about the fruits and asked us to measure our effectiveness with each one.

Love – well, I’m working on it, thanks to the influence of this great book. I tend to love the bigger hurdles because they are big and don’t require the “down and dirty” of every day relationships, while I struggle with loving the irritants, the ones that are right in front of me.

Joy – I think I do pretty well with this one, although sometimes I do forget to be joyful in the dips of everyday life. Happiness is not joy. Happiness is fleeting at times. Joy is solid and concrete. Joy is IN SPITE OF…

Peace – I mostly have peace, although I find that my worry over my children and the state of our Union sometimes causes me to feel like I am on an internal roller coaster/too high swing/highway hill going 80 mph. I don’t like that feeling, and I have my Mom’s worry, the worry gene. Thanks A LOT, Mom. 🙂

Patience – I think I do pretty well with patience these days. I have learned that I cannot change some things in life, and I have learned to accept as is. Divorce and bottom of the barrel will do that to a person. I guess it’s one thing that was “beauty for ashes” or “Potter and clay.”

Kindness – I think I am mostly kind. I cannot think of any situations where I am not. Where I struggle is the absence of kind, the leaving it to someone else to be kind…

Goodness – I think I am mostly good, although my inner thoughts sometimes get the better of me, and I remember my Mom telling me that my thoughts are as deadly as my actions.

Faithfulness – Hmmm, gotta work on this one. Having faith, being faithful, I think, is a lifelong lesson. There are many areas where I struggle with this one.

Gentleness – Except for when I am frustrated, I have this one down. When my hormones get the best of me in frustration, I throw gentleness out the window, along with kitchen utensils, right, Sam?

Self-Control – THIS IS MY STORY THAT NEEDS TO CHANGE, in so many areas of my life. I do not exhibit self-control on a daily basis, especially when it comes to my mouth, my thoughts, my actions.

I want my story, my song, to be one continual Blessed Assurance, a song that never ends. I am grateful today for gentle reminders from the Holy Spirit that I should live the fruits of the Spirit in every action, every word, every thought.

Fruit of the Spirit 2