Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Treasures Found

Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. 
Each moment is all we need, not more.
~ Mother Teresa

Progress on the cottage continues! This week Barry the Builder had  work done on the heating and air conditioning as well as dry wall. Grating will be done in the yard as soon as the weather permits. Who knows when that will happen!

I met with Kristin the Contractor to pick out the flooring, lighting, extras in the bathroom, and a few other things. It was a productive afternoon, topped off with drinks before we went home to our families. A good time catching up and relaxing.

All these steps make it feel more real to me. How grateful I am for this addition to the cottage, a place to house our lives and dreams for years to come.

Saturday morning T and I went into the city to run some errands. One we expected to take a couple of hours ended up as a fail. So we found ourselves with some extra time. T asked me what I’d like to do, to which I immediately answered going to an architectural rennovation shop we’d seen after leaving a baseball game.

What a treasure trove! All kinds of things, located in about a block of buildings near downtown. Poking around, seeing things that set off all kinds of ideas, wondering at the care and craftsmenship of years gone past. Fireplace mantels, barristers, hand rails, doors, trim, lights, windows, registers, door knobs. Amazing things.

We use glass door knobs on all the internal doors of the cottage.

T found the window. Called Barry the Builder to check on the dimensions of the arch window in our new bedroom. A bit of measuring, talking to the shop owner, and the window is ours! It needs to be cleaned up, but it will look wonderful with the morning light streaming in, gently waking us up at the lake. 

What fun to find a treasure to share for years to come, completely by surprise and not planned in the least bit. The best of life comes to us this way. Moments after moments of pure happiness.

I can't wait to see it hung over the bedroom window!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Love Is All

"Whatever the question, Love is the answer." 
~ Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Valentine’s Day and Love is in the air. Up early this morning while it is dark and the house is quiet, I make a pan of cinnamon rolls for T. With LOTS of cinnamon - just the way he likes them. Perfect accompaniment for coffee, strong and pure.

Mid-afternoon on a Sunday afternoon, T is now making a special treat for dinner, his rendition of Braciolone. Because we are mostly vegetarians, this is a rarety without company in the house. Little Bitty certainly questions our decision about being vegetarians. She begs . . . and begs . . . and begs for little tastes as T is preparing the

As we enjoy simply being together today, a day set aside for Love, we listen to Motown music, talk and laugh, simply celetrate being together. We are both so grateful to be able to share our love after so many of years of dreaming of finding this kind of love in this lifetime. Such pure joy.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Weekend Full of Happiness

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” ~ John Ruskin

A perfectly perfect weekend. We left home on Friday evening to head for the lake. The foundation is complete on the addition and we wanted to see how it looks. Really, it was just a good excuse to get away from the regular responsibility of home and sigh a breath of relief.

The mild winter here in northern Indiana seems strange. But it does help with the construction work. So I’ll take the lake that isn’t solidly frozen. I’ll take the brown look of the meadow. The mild weather should help the construction be completed a bit sooner!

Saturday evening we had my brother Eric and his wife over for dinner. Just the four of us. It was a nice, quiet evening. So many times when we’re together other family and friends are around. I love that, but it was nice to visit with just them. They were married five years ago. Both second marriages, a blended family. So often I looked at them in wonder. Now, I have my own love and am even more in wonder than before!

Dinner was stromboli, salad, and a French yogurt cake with blueberries and a lemon glaze. Pure joy to cook with T. Total relaxation. (We even had enough cake left over to share with friends at the Super Bowl party.)

During the afternoon I painted a few Valentines while T prepares dinner. Something about the light at the lake that always makes painting easier. 

Reading, knitting, laughing together, time with family and friends. What could be more perfect?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Chili Cook-Off

Wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili.
~Last words of Kit Carson, 
American frontiersman (1809-1868)

Chili Cook-off at church on Sunday for the monthly fellowship meal. 
So . . . T and I are both making a pot of chili. 

I’m using a tried and true recipe. I found it at this link a couple of years ago and have made it several times. I don’t even adjust the heat much. We like it hot! 

Ingredients for my chili

My Chili

T did a web search for a new “exotic” recipe to try. He’s printed it off, and will decide later if it is worthy adding to the recipe binder. Of course, he’ll make several adjustments to the new recipe. 

Ingredients for T's chili
T's Chili

The best part of this “contest” is cooking with T. Just being together in the kitchen brings me such happiness! We talk and laugh. We listened to music on Pandora - Pink Martini, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole. The perfect background. 

We had dinner of a small(ish) bowl from both of the chili pots and fresh from the oven corn bread. Then, each was put into a crock pot to take to chuch on Sunday.

Just spending simple time together like this brings such joy. I can’t imagine a better life.

The fellowship meals are always enjoyable. This time we sat with two friends that always bring lots of laughter to share. There was quite a buffet of chili pots. The one I liked best was “Vianne’s Chili” as a tribute to one of my favorites, Chocolat. (I’ll have to get my hands on that recipe!)

Friday, January 15, 2016


You can’t use up creativity. 
The more you use, 
the more you have. 
~ Maya Angelou

Creativity takes many forms in my life. Eclectic.


I try to knit every day. Some say, “The new yoga.” The click of the needles certainly lulls me into a meditative state easily. When I’m making something for a particular someone, it feels like a constant prayer for them.


How thankful I am to have someone so appreciative to cook for! And with! Making dinners now doesn’t feel maintenance at all, as it did for so many years. The best part of cooking creatively is that unless we’re traveling, it happens every day. 


Something I desire to do more of this year. The act of painting taps into something newer in my life and somehow deeper than the things I’ve done for so many years.


Not so much at this time of year in northern Indiana. Yet dreaming of the growing season to come brings a bit of excitement to the greyest of January days.

Planning lessons for students touches a part of me creatively. How will they best learn? What do they really need to know? What fun can we have in making the learning happen for them?

Trying New Forms
There are so many creative people in this magnificent world. Being around someone creative makes me feel inspired. Able. Courageous. This afternoon I’m taking a personal art lesson from a university professor. A very creative Christmas gift from my husband! Adventure awaits!

Not something I’ve spent much time on these past few years. But it is something that always feels good . . . picking up the pen. Sharing a few thoughts with friends. Discovering what thoughts lie within myself.


Catching a particular moment in time and place. Some of the best photos have become my memory, without every looking at the physical picture, it is in my mind forever.

The idea of creativity is without limits. The idea of co-creation is joy incarnate. Creativity can so easily be left out of my day. Always wanting more. Being intentional about expressing creativity is one way to expand my life. Joyfully living my life to the fullest each day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gratitude in November

This year has been full of all good things. So many changes, these last couple of years! Some of the changes were subtle, soft. Some of the changes happened at the speed of light. I am grateful for so much. I don't have time to write it all . . . but here is a list of 57 things. (Not in priority order, just somewhat random.)
  • Finding the love of my life. T was literally a part of my everyday work world 16 years ago. I always knew he was a wonderful person. What I didn't know way back then was what joy and delight the Universe held in store for us!

  • The blessing of being the mother to Derrick. Becoming a mother was the single most defining event of my life. I have often felt, even before his birth, that I was born to be his mother.

  • Sunshine making the world glow here in northern Indiana, even when it is cold outside.
  • Sharing dinner at home in the evenings with T. Once in awhile special friends join us. My preference is always a simple dinner. One of my favorites is winter minestrone soup, field greens, and my own seed bread. I anticipate intelligent conversation, a good share of reminiscing, and plenty of laughter. Love at the table.
  • Kitties curled up in a sunbeam this morning. Absolutely a big pile of love.

  • Trust in the way I have always been provided and cared for. It hasn't been easy, but I know that loving presence has always been there, giving me hope for better days ahead.
  • Having my teaching career to support Derrick and me over the years. Teaching in the inner city was one of the most difficult things I could do. Without that, I couldn't have learned as much about life and children and teaching as I did. The job provided for me in so many ways.
  • My job as preschool director and teacher. It was hard to leave my teaching job in Indy to move here. Teaching was a long fufilled dream. Yet this job is the best of everything! I am surrounded by energetic children, ready to learn, willing to love life every day. As Luke says, "What's next?”

  • T calls at the end of a meeting out of town, saying he’ll pick up lunch and do some grocery shopping while there because he knows my cold has zapped my energy. My love takes good care of me.
  • Watching the deer outside the kitchen window as they graze in the meadow. Alert and watchful, they seem to know I'm not a danger when I step out onto the deck. 

  • Seeing so many birds this morning. Blue birds, yellow finches, wrens, sparrows, juncos, cardinals, and nuthatches. I know they appreciate the feeder I try to keep full. They bring such delight to me as I continue the tradition of my grandparents and parents who always fed the birds in other Midwestern back yards. 

  • Watching Bitty chatter at the same birds. If only she was allowed outside, she knows she could get them!
  • Watching the squirrels scamper and race each other across the meadow and up trees. They enjoy the peanuts they find outside the back door for their morning breakfast. Tommy doesn't care as much about the birds as Bitty, but he thinks the squirrels would be great fun to chase.

  • Working on a knitting project. This year I’ve even made several things for myself! A purple shawl that has quickly become a staple in my wardrobe, a felted black purse, a hat, and a new scarf on the needles now. Not to mention knitting away every day for Christmas gifts. Knitting always makes me feel connected to Grandma.

  • My sister Lori. I simply can't imagine my life without her. We speak nearly every day. And sometimes several times a day! She knows me so well. She always has the best advise. She has helped me maintain my focus throughout everything, always encouraging me on. I can ask her anything; what to have for dinner, how to work out a difficult situation with a friend, what I look good in, and so much more.

  • Having a few calls from Derrick several days in a row. Knowing he is busy and doing well makes me happy. But there is nothing like a phone call!

  • Looking forward to Derrick’s visit home at Christmas time. 
  • The view overlooking the meadow. All year I've taken photos of it from one spot. The changing meadow, the tree line at the river, the gardens are all beautiful.

  • The loving home I share with T. We knew  this was the house for us as soon as we stepped inside. The view of the meadow, the seclusion set right at the edge of town. The look on T’s face as he walks in at the end of the day. Comments people make when they visit us here. Heaven on Earth.
  • The sound of the house. I hear the clocks ticking, chiming when the moment strikes. Those clocks are the heartbeat of the house. 

  • The wind chime outside the family room. Hung just behind the pagoda, the chime feels like Spirit checking in on us. 
  • My computer. I don't mean to be materialistic. But it is such a wondrous machine! It keeps me connected with friends and family far away, helps me research for school, provides inspiration for my creative life. 
  • Looking forward to Thanksgiving. It is a time my entire family gets together. I only wish Derrick could be there with us.

  • Remembering Thanksgiving two years ago when T talked to Daddy, asking his blessing to marry me. The joy I felt when he then announced our plans to the entire family!

  • Recent visits with my brother Eric and his wife Susan as they struggle with family difficulties. Not that I’m grateful for their difficulties. I’m grateful they feel comfortable to come and share with us. Grateful they have a brief respite from their cares as we sit together at the table over a sweet. Grateful they feel that comfortable with both of us.  

  • Watching Eric and Susan find their love, join their families, and grow together gave me such hope during my years alone. It was worth the wait! Their example helped me to hold out for the best. Even if these days are difficult for them, they are making their way through together.
  • Our lake cottage. It is a place I feel more connected to than anywhere else in the world. I am incredibly thankful to have that place together with T. We enjoy it now, look forward to spending all our remaining days there together.

  • The view of the lake on an early morning. It is simply the most beautiful sight in the world.

  • Looking at the coots on a fall day. The way they land and take off, literally running on the water is amazing.
  • Watching the swans on the lake. They stay close together, looking for one another as they wake up in the early morning light.

  • Having good books to read. As soon as I finish one there is another one, waiting for me to read it! For so many years I didn't have time to read novels. I'm trying to make up for that now!
  • My spiritual life. From learning about Love from Grandma's knee to finding my very own spiritual group. Very grateful I am able to continue growing with them, even though it is a bit far to travel!
  • Being able to attend Vince’s fall retreat in Youngstown this year with T. The connection I have with that spiritual group means so much. 
  • The church community I share with T. Even though I was a bit dubious about joining an actual church, it is the right one for me. Welcoming and affirming. In so many ways.
  • The trip my parents will make to visit here over the holidays. It will be good to have them in our home and spend time with them here. Another opportunity for T and them to get to know each other better.
  • Having a new family through T. Such loving people he comes from. I am in awe to be welcomed into the fold.

  • The connections made with students from the University. On Sunday night we hosted a group of honor students in our home for a home cooked meal of stromboli and salad. They were so grateful!
  • Late red roses blooming in the garden. T picked two perfect flowers to enjoy inside.
  • Sharing T’s joy when the Kansas City Royals won the World Series. He had waited so long! Who knew I could be such a baseball fan?
  • Friendships with women in my small town. Walking in the morning or afternoons with one, two, three and sometimes more of them and chatting all the time.
  • The commradare of book club. Sometimes the reading material stretches me way outside my comfort zone. That is the purpose of it.
  • Hosting dinners with T. We work well together. He knows exactly what to do without instructions, does things I don’t think about. The best part is sharing time with friends gathered around a table, enjoying good food, drink, and conversations.
  • Time spent in creative endeavors. I keep my paint table set up most of the time in the living room, ready for me to sit and work as I’m inspired. Sometimes I have just 10 minutes and sometimes I have the entire morning. Pure joy to work on a project and have new things completed!

  • The absolute perfectly happy day last week at the lake. Simple pleasures truly are the best. While T raked, hauled, and burnt leaves, I baked pumpkin cupcakes, basked in the sunshine, read a book, visited with neighbors, and watched the birds on the lake.

  • Watching Hobo wander the meadow and run toward me at the speed of light when he hears/sees me on the deck.

  • Feeding the squirrels peanuts in the morning. Squirrel TV we call it. They even come close to Hobo, as if to say, “Excuse me, but there is a peanut right near your tail.”
  • Visiting with a friend over a cup of tea or coffee in an afternoon. Soul-filled conversations, laughter, all in the comfort of home.

  • Planning ahead for Christmas gatherings with family and friends. What food to share? How to decorate this year? Which traditions to continue? What new traditions to create?

  • Good health in our family. Such a wonderous thing, to be healthy and free from the concerns of sickness. Something so easily taken for granted.
  • Talking with Derrick several times this week. So far away from home, from my daily life. Yet the connection is incredibly deep. So easily understood and picked up to bring great joy. 
  • The support T gives me in all things. The encouragement, affirmation, and unconditional love. Whether it is a meal prepared, a painting done, ironing shirts, or time spent curled up on the sofa reading or knitting. He loves me, whatever I do.
  • Watching movies with T. Sometimes funny with full belly laughter, sometimes with heart wrenching tears. It seems like reading a book together at the same time, these moments shared.
  • Listening to music fill our home. What a treasure it is to find a piece of music that touches my heart.
  • Getting home from a trip to Chicago safely this weekend. A surprise snow storm, a front tire blowout, and the help and kindness of strangers.
  • The smell of coffee first thing in the morning.

  • Watching the fish and frogs in the pond outside the kitchen window. The moments I sit on the step next to the pond bring such peace to me. I love the metaphore of looking deeper to see what is under the surface, what might come close enough to see more clearly. Listening to the waterfall immediately puts me at ease.

  • Realizing the perfect life I live in this very day. Knowing this is exactly where I am meant to be. My heart grows with gratitude and love and light. This is the joy all of us are meant to experience on Earth.
(Please forgive the "1's" below. Formatting problem!)