Posts Tagged ‘Home’


The 16 year old boy who went missing 3 weeks ago is now reunited with his family at home. He was found in Houston, TX, the same day of the El Paso shootings, safe and sound.

Out of respect for his future, his family, his dignity and his digital footprint, I have removed the initial post about his disappearance.

However, I would like to take this opportunity to implore parents to never underestimate the power contained in the electronic device you put into your child’s hands.

When it comes to their online presence….

Be where they are

Go where they go

Whether near or afar,

Know who they know

Thank You, God, for his safe return. May his parents have wisdom in what lies ahead, take comfort in Your mercy and deliverance, and may we all be aware of how our online presence influences outcomes.

God, please protect our vulnerable children whose parents may be blind, lackadaisical or naive to the very real dangers of others with power, money or psychological pull, who may lure and ensnare their loved ones.

May we all know how to cultivate and maintain a close relationship based on trust, unconditional love and patience.

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I had every intention of posting more along our journey to the West Coast (which ended yesterday)…but our trek took us into treacherous and remote places along the way daily, with internet service ranging from spotty-at-best to nonexistent.

But I’m glad to have waited, particularly seeing this week’s challenge topic, since there are now many “on the horizon” shots to choose from. Here are a few of my favorites:

Fog rolling into San Francisco Bay, two nights ago

Crescent City, California

Central Oregon Coast near Newport

Columbia River Gorge, looking towards Washington state

Orchards near Mount Adams

Mt. Hood eclipsing the sun

Between cloud banks on the flight home yesterday

Thank You, God, for the privilege of travel, for affording us new world views, for reuniting with old friends and for rekindling family ties. Your artwork is amazing, Lord, the way You paint each horizon with unique beauty and passion.

Most of all, thank You for the many blessings which continually abound on each new horizon of our lives.

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So for the first time in 17 years, I’m leaving my beach Sunday morning and going on a pilgrimage back to Oregon (and also California), where I spent a couple of game-changing chapters of my life that are near and dear to my heart.

I can’t promise photography as stellar as this video featuring one of my fave talented musicians who has visited my beach (Mat Kearney), but you can be sure my lens will be in action throughout the trip. Stay tuned, musers!


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Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday !

Scenes from my beach world this week-

Unexpected gifts continually wash up on our shores…

Baby Jesus hasn’t quite arrived yet in this scene, the fourth Sunday of Advent

Silent night ahead

Children playing outside in the courtyard, as seen through the church’s “eyes to the world”

A play on the term “Christmas Tag!”

Thank You, God, for gifts that don’t come in boxes…

…and for gifts that do. Merry Christmas, y’all!

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Boundaries define our limits…but boundaries are also fluid as we grow and change.

Never say never…


God, thank You for stretching us and bringing us back to You, bungee-cord-style. Thanks for always being there for us to come back to.

Thank You for understanding, generations-old straying and for appreciating the beauty of willful return of the Prodigal Sons (and daughters) Thank You for always taking us back in. And even going as far as to celebrate with the best of the reserve, no less! We are SO not worthy.

Let us never stray purposefully or ever take advantage of Your rejoicing at our choice to return, despite our many sojourns away from You.

Thank You for being the Rock of our Return.

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For more creative silhouettes, please visit the Weekly Photo Challenge.


Hey, God…thank You for shadows of things to come…

For the illumination You provide, bringing things once dark into the light;

For long shadows shrinking as Your light rises over all things;

For bold outlines that bring definition to hazy horizons;

For stark contrasts that complement each other in perfect harmony,

And for fresh perspectives gained by ongoing change.

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Today marks the third birthday of this blog.

It began as an alternative way to communicate. And, like many blogs, it evolved into a completely different animal altogether, then transforming to a platform for creative writing to a platform for photography to a platform for prayer and reflection. God, the sea and musings have never failed to tie them all together.

All these things are a reflection of growth having occurred, of forward movement, being swept up in the current of life.

If you’d asked me three years ago today if I saw myself (or this blog) where I am today, the answer would have been an unequivocal NO.

Growth is so cool, y’all! See where time takes you? Places you never dreamed!

Staying stuck sucks. (say THAT ten times fast!)

So in honor of the third birthday, I offer a bit of creative writing, photography and prayer.

Minus the mistakes I’ve learned from, like ditching the 2k word post, straightening out the horizon on my beach shots and such.

Why, here’s a picture I just took this weekend on my beach – how many of you were too polite to tell me in days past that my crooked horizons made you seasick? This one’s for you:


Okay, so the horizon is just about straight, but the damn chair is crooked – I’ll get it right one of these days. Thanks for bearing with me….

Oh, but here’s another one from the same day – is this better? (Side note: water temp, 82 degrees F, perfect for snorkeling, boogie boarding, kayaking and tubing – all of which I was blessed to play in those cerulean waters yesterday – c’mon down, y’all)

(and no, I did NOT photoshop any people or crowds OUT of the picture – this is really what my beach looks like – never ever a soul encroaching)


Okay, the horizon is not slightly off – that’s the curvature of the earth, right?

(I went for a run later down the beach and saw that catamaran up close – it’s a beaut!)

I was told my blog had been branded as this or that and I felt compelled to live up to the brand, one of which included reverent prayer. I was so busy bowing my head I got out of the habit of blogging for laughs, like the Expense of DIY post or Chore Evasion and others like it, back in the day.

As I sought a title for this post, I Googled the word THREE and these suggestions popped up (my memoirs of the last 3 years in parentheses):

  • Three waters green (I am surrounded by three waters of green, blue and other colors depending on whether or not BP decides to blow a gasket near my beach)
  • Three days grace (What I needed last year when I counted up the number of lawyers (eight) for various reasons I never foresaw, between work and family matters)
  • Three circle church (I don’t go to that church, but I did find myself involved in three different churches/denominations at once, which was growth-promoting)
  • Threes (Things come in threes – I have nothing witty to say about this one)
  • Three mile island (What could be said about the state of my house right now, especially after a neighborhood of kids chose our front yard as pyrotechnics central for the 4th)
  • Three stooges (3 of my 4 children who are still in the stage of finding flatulence funny)
  • Three brothers arms (What I often sternly say I’d better not see in my rear view mirror after the car line at school)
  • Three dog night (What happens in my back yard when our dogs and the neighbor’s dog get crazy over a nighttime thunderstorm, and they jump the fence)
  • Three rivers state park (A beautiful area, if you’ve never been, where Florida and Georgia share water, sorry, no 3 year connection here)
  • Three days to kill (If this is any insightful analysis into the state of my brain right now, I had to read this twice to decide if it meant if there was a deadline of three days to murder someone, or if it meant I needed a vacation….I settled upon the latter)

But my FAVORITE thing that popped up when I Googled THREE, was this literary gem:

Three Years She Grew

By William Wordsworth

Three years she grew in sun and shower,

Then Nature said, “A lovelier flower

On earth was never sown;

This Child I to myself will take;

She shall be mine, and I will make

A Lady of my own.


“Myself will to my darling be

Both law and impulse: and with me

The Girl, in rock and plain,

In earth and heaven, in glade and bower,

Shall feel an overseeing power

To kindle or restrain.


“She shall be sportive as the fawn

That wild with glee across the lawn

Or up the mountain springs;

And hers shall be the breathing balm,

And hers the silence and the calm

Of mute insensate things.


“The floating clouds their state shall lend

To her; for her the willow bend;

Nor shall she fail to see

Even in the motions of the Storm

Grace that shall mould the Maiden’s form

By silent sympathy.


“The stars of midnight shall be dear

To her; and she shall lean her ear

In many a secret place

Where rivulets dance their wayward round,

And beauty born of murmuring sound

Shall pass into her face.


“And vital feelings of delight

Shall rear her form to stately height,

Her virgin bosom swell;

Such thoughts to Lucy I will give

While she and I together live

Here in this happy dell.”


Thus Nature spake—The work was done—

How soon my Lucy’s race was run!

She died, and left to me

This heath, this calm and quiet scene;

The memory of what has been,

And never more will be.


Hey, God, thank You for three years of evolution, of coming into being and coming to You.

God bless the readers, artists and publishers of WordPress for this positive momentum of growth and self-actualization. Hitting the PUBLISH button isn’t the end-all goal, it’s the journey that counts and the joys found therein.

Thank You for this platform for finding my way, for taking me through, bringing me up, keeping me afloat and sending me into the future. And most of all, God, for bringing me HOME, home where I belong. Thank You for the journey, God.

And thank YOU, dear readers, for joining me here on my beach. Your friendship is the most cherished thing of all.


Happy Anniversary!

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If I were a stranger coming to visit me for the first time, I’m not quite sure what I’d think of myself. I would probably be so distracted by all the crap that I’d probably forget to ring the doorbell. I might even run. Or I’d wait to see what kind of creature emerged, out of sheer morbid curiosity, given the exterior clues.

I might say the person living here leads a bit of a busy, chaotic life (true).

This person could stand to be a little more organized (false – I am a hapless victim of sharing space with those with less superior organizational skills than myself, and I have learned it is best to keep the peace by resisting my impulses to impose order on a hoarder.).

This person seriously needs more space. Or less stuff (true).

This person should get to work (false, in my imagination).

This person has a mess-o-fun (more true than should be legal).

This person’s porch is a train wreck of information (you be the judge).

If you had blinders on, you would go directly to the door and either ring the doorbell or knock on this:

Grab him by the tail!

While you’re waiting and eavesdropping on the inevitable, audible mayhem indoors, you would glance over at this:

Welcome: We collect shells & friends. And Mardi Gras beads.

That is one of our children’s painted, glittered sand dollars behind the sign; I can’t recall which kid did it when. The only way to find out is to remove it and wait for the little artist to inquire where his masterpiece went. And at the bottom of the green beads, that is a very sun-faded alligator. It was an awesome parade catch last year and was on boastful display on the porch all year. Nobody told us the alligator would turn yellow. Oh, well. We kind of like him hanging around, regardless.

Whimsical junk so far, yes…when I grow up, I will have a more formalized, mature front porch – you know, gas lamps, properly propped cushions on perfectly painted wicker, sculptures, fountain, fireplace.  For now, though, this suits the kids, along with the garish Mardi Gras wreath opposite this scene.

You might trip over this on your way up to the door:

Interesting driftwood rescued from nearby bayou

Hopefully, this will catch your eye on the ground, so that you will not look up and behold this mess:

This Charlie Brown geranium has a date with a dumpster in the near future.

Pathetic. Why do we keep these sorry excuses of fauna? Because in the back of our heads we keep thinking “someday” I will magically emerge from a phone booth as a botanical superhero and nurse it back to a full, brilliant life. And besides, the local nurseries haven’t started carrying the good stuff yet that will take us through spring & summer. I’m holding out. If this bothers you, congratulations – it bothers me too.

(Side note to those born after 1990: Phone booths, kiddies, were cubically rectangular, see-through contraptions, not unlike a vertical version of the cryogenic capsule you’ll find yourself purchasing in the next decade or so. In a phone booth, you deposited a nickel – no, a dime – wait, last time was a quarter – into an old-fashioned telephone, complete with something like an umbilical cord which connected a black box with a rotary dial or buttons, and the receiver. You got to call somebody, and phone numbers began with a word followed by five numbers. In some cases you had to talk to a real person, an “operator,” to input your data verbally. These things were on most city corners. Because they did not have Angry Birds or other apps to occupy them back then, they used to have contests to see how many people could squish into one phone booth at a time. It was also where a dude named Clark Kent transformed into Superman and saved the day.)

In all honesty, the geranium opposite this one on the other side of the porch is doing marvelously, with multiple bright blooms. Really. And when I go to trash the one above, I will have a quandary as to what to do with the good geranium, since people like their porches symmetrical, and it would be porch-heresy to put non-matching hanging plants opposite each other. One year I did that because I wanted to. It drove the neighbors bananas, and I got more questions as to why. Everybody kind of got edgy about it. Geez Louise!

Speaking of symmetry on porches, we here in the South can always tell when a Yankee moves in (or an ingenuine Southerner). They will place two rocking chairs on either side of the front door, typically yards apart. This is front porch-fakery at its best. This is no way to enjoy a tall, frosty glass of sweet tea with another person – it renders you rudely hollering across the porch at each other. Nosireebob, a real Southern porch clusters furniture, even if it’s asymmetrical. It’s all about settin’ a spell and being neighborly.

Now, on our porch, we have two white rockers and this baby, all on one side:

The quintessential front porch amenity

Why is there an orange heart on the swing? Because I had extra paint leftover after I painted our mailbox with a sea scape. And orange is my favorite color. Besides, it went well with the cushion. Yes, symmetry fans, there is another orange heart on the other side, too. Rest well tonight.

It is from here that I sip a glass of this or that and watch my children grow up. From here I train the younger ones to come to me when they are called, the first time. It is where I rest after swinging on the big swing roped to the old oak tree. It is where I read and write and pray. It is where I cool off under the outdoor ceiling fan after a good, hard run. It is where I file away memories, where I unwind, and where I cultivate my marriage and parenthood. Oh, and to watch to see what the neighbors are up to and smile and wave as they go by.

Unfortunately, this is the view from the swing, in the opposite direction:

Holy Clutter, Batman!

That Buzz Lightyear keeps showing up where I least expect him. You’d think we had two in the house. Wait, we do. You have the toy cars, the disassembled hummingbird feeder, ever-open tackle box, useful string not in use, bike helmet, fishing poles, boogie boards, spare worms in blue container like a crown on the heap. Somewhere under that mess is a Radio Flyer wagon. Inner tube off to the side. And beneath the pew is a collection of dried, sandy, water shoes in several sizes and colors, along with some canoe paddles. Don’t forget the cat food and water dishes on the other side of the pew. The cat came with the house; they just kind of threw her into the deal, interest-free. Ditto for the pew. Long story behind the pew and our faith…suffice it to say, it was an original, hand-made pew which first served worshipers in a local church decades ago.

Scattered in front of the porch and beneath the azalea bushes and pineapple plants are scores of shells. We really do collect ’em.

Thanks, God, for front porches, for a sweet place to enjoy life, and for the things that make a house a home, and a home part of a community.

And thanks, dear friend, for joining me on the porch today. Now tell me, what does your front porch, or your front door area, say about YOU? What’s the most unusual, favorite or annoying thing lurking around your entryway?

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For my new followers from the last post, welcome – and allow me to confess that the heart-wrenching style with which that post (and several preceding it) was written, is only half of me. The other half is the ghost of Erma Bombeck, albeit merely a wish for a sliver of her master wit. Like the big, red clown nose one of our nurses wears on the children’s unit, humor is one sure way to counterbalance what otherwise would be very difficult profession for one’s heart to manage.

And I have not been very funny lately, since about Labor Day weekend – come to think of it, those were the last funny post out of my fingertips – because there was nothing all that funny while I was furthering my education and cramming for a national exam during the past three months. A grim undertaking at best, it is over. It was about as much fun as untangling my bra straps fresh out of the dryer.

I am beyond happy to report that I passed, have achieved a new and improved professional stature which only my colleagues give a rip about because few others can recognize the futile, haughty jumble of alphabet soup behind our names, anyway. Doesn’t really matter…I never hang my credentials in my office anyhoo…one, who cares, as long as you get the job done, and two, it’d be just my luck to hang ’em and have some kid go into an aggressive rage and break one the day after they were hung.

At any rate, I am finally starting to regain feeling in parts of my numb skull (no comment), which was due in full to said academic undertaking. I am vaguely aware that I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger award, for which I am most honorably flabbergasted, but I will not be able to fully acknowledge nor make good on my responsibilities for this until I altogether come to. This acknowledgment shall be forthcoming, I promise.

Besides, I have yet to sit down and master the fine art of linking in text here. I suck at reading directions. And I’ve limited patience for fiddling. Yes, I’m the one who’ll be responsible for the off-balance, cockeyed tyke bike under the tree Christmas morning, the one with the handlebars coming out of the side of seat and the horn attached to the spokes of the wheel. And hauling my bleeding kidlet to the ER shortly thereafter.

That is, if it weren’t for my left-brained, instructions-guru husband, who tirelessly crouches and grouches over the assembly-required items at 11pm on Christmas Eve, while I innocently sip hot cider in bed playing online Scrabble. Rest assured our respective roles in this matter were decidedly determined after our first child’s Christmas, when we battled it out for which way was right, Cog A into Slightly-Off-Center-Grommet-B (“damn the manufacturers, gimme the drill”). No, sweetheart, go to sleep…that wasn’t Daddy and Mommy, just Santa’s reindeer on the roof. After that first Christmas, our roles were clearly defined in this department. Bless this one-flesh of mine…he has mastered the assembly details to where he now comes to bed within 30 minutes of the young masses falling asleep. Cool.

As I rub and blink my weary eyes and insert myself back into my life as I knew it in September, I have awoken to the results of the sole female in a house of six, turning her attention elsewhere for a season. I have opened my eyes and behold, entered the season of destruction. Season’s greetings, ya slackin’ mama! Thankfully, the Christmas tree and accompanying decorations have managed to materialize. The children made it through another semester, husband has been sufficiently trained not to expect me to cook for him anymore, and the houseplants resemble a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, but alive – nothing a little Miracle Gro can’t help.

On the flip side, the pantry is filled with man-snacks, as though I have irreverently entered a remote hunting camp, minus the skinned and hanging deer. I am being asked to believe that the floor was just swept two days ago when dust bunnies the size of Texas loom underneath the buffet. And the teenager responsible for doing the dishes has managed to chip every last bowl, plate and saucer in the cabinet. Evidently, hollering out from behind my book in the bedroom clear down to the kitchen, “I SHOULDN’T BE HEARING ANYTHING CLINK WHEN YOU EMPTY THE DISHWASHER!!!” wasn’t enough.

During my mental hiatus, I am quasi-aware of some less-than-intelligent conversations which took place. Monday afternoons found me chauffeuring the children to piano lessons, which take place in the town’s most upscale subdivision where lonely, looming Munster-like but manicured mansions abound. You rarely see people in them because they are elsewhere, off fetching the salaries they need to pay for the homes they barely get to enjoy. Except, that is, for our piano teacher, who has cleverly set up shop in her parlor.

Each Monday I recall being talked into letting them roll the windows down while we waited for the last one to finish his lesson, and each Monday I recall having to shush all of them getting verbally rambunctious, their playful shrieks from the backseat echoing off the stately homes surrounding us. One Monday I wised up and the windows remained up. But last Monday, it was unseasonably warm, so down came the windows to enjoy the sweet breeze. Within moments, they were back to their shrieking shenanigans, and I absent-mindedly joined them: “Y’ALL STOP ACTING LIKE A BUNCH OF HOODLUMS IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD…WAIT’LL WE GET HOME, OKAY?!”

Driving off after the lesson was over, I found myself wondering just what I meant by that.

Another intelligent conversation transpired yesterday while I held my 13-year-old captive on a drive to and from a nearby island:

Me: “So what else do you want besides an Xpensive Box?”

Him: “Well, I know what I want.”

Me: “Well, what do you want?”

Him: “I’m not sure.”

Brilliance. I suppose the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

In other waking observations, I see the three-year old has not been adequately disciplined to date. I submit to you Exhibits A, B and C:

Broken beads, balls & Buzz

Exhibit A: Freud missed a stage; the proper stages should have been Oral, Anal, Nasal, Phallic, Latent and Genital. Here is the Mardi Gras bead (from the string he broke) which he inserted into his nose last night, another bead he was ABOUT to insert into his other nostril, and the crude but useful implement Daddy fashioned in order to extricate the offending orb Made In China. We escaped an ER copay and the child escaped Daddy’s operating expertise, when a small miracle (the forceful snort the child emitted when we had him pinned to the bed to examine the problem) caused the bead to descend on its own out of his nostril. I do believe Daddy and Mommy were more concerned, because as we frantically considered our options, Snuffy, bead up nose, nonchalantly asked for an animal cracker.

Exhibit B: Behold the multitude of broken Christmas items. Each child is allowed to pick a new ornament each year. The little one took it upon himself to locate each and every shiny, red icicle, the ones chosen by eldest brother, and snapped them all into at least two pieces. See the shards of the remains of another brother’s hand-painted (glass) ornament. And somewhere in that melee of mess is a lone jingle bell without its ribbon. We thought we could get away with not having to put all the ornaments halfway up the tree out of reach this year. Apparently not. He may have a future in advertising when the guy in the Allstate commercials retires.

Exhibit C: The top off a Matchbox race car. No clue how he pried it off so clean – he’s going to make a fabulous burglar someday. The little duckies from the farm set – baby duck ripped from its family, mother duck absent altogether, no telling where he put her. He probably ate her. And last but not least, Buzz Lightyear. Note the dangerously exposed wires where his left hand used to be. Left hand is now unceremoniously filed in the kitchen tool drawer of no return – you know, the one that has no actual tools in it, but instead has scores of broken household parts we mean to get to “some day.” Buzz’s amputated hand now holds the spring which held his hand in place where the wires now dangle. He still talks with authority when you press his buttons; he’s just not as believable anymore. Maybe the mishap occurred when he crash-landed by mistake, that’s what we’ll tell ’em.

Of unrelated interest is the distressed coffee table on which the exhibits lie. It did not become distressed until we first became distressed and gave up trying to keep the kidlets from playing on it “to keep it nice” (for what?! coffee?! made a much better surface for wood-scratching toys like Legos and cars). Luck of all luck, the “distressed look” came into vogue right about the time I was about get a new coffee table. Always me, fashionable by default, like the boots I bought in 1984 which came in handy 20 years later. I suppose I will postpone the purchase of a new coffee table until  (lessee, 18 minus 3…) um, 15 years from now.

As if these gems weren’t enough to collect in one day, I present to you Exhibit D:

Crunchy Christmas

It is our custom to decorate the children’s bedrooms with Christmas lights each Christmas. We had just put him down to sleep last night, and within 20 minutes, we heard an unearthly choke followed by a blood-curdling wail. Running in the room, he was spewing red and orange glass from the Christmas lights he tried to eat, all over his jammies and the floor. He had inquired as to their taste earlier in the season, and we lectured him thoroughly on the dangers of consuming Christmas lights. He stayed away from the lights the rest of the time, and we’d had them hung high on the top bunk and near the ceiling, not anticipating Curious George to climb up, pull them down and chomp on one. No, not one, but two. I wonder if he liked the taste of the red one so much he had to try the orange. The happy news is, no implements or ER trip necessary, once again everything came out just fine on its own fairly quickly. Lesson learned. Lights removed. We’ll try again next year.

Lastly, I submit Exhibit E:

Christmas Cow-Tipping

Yes, the naughty little shaver had to go and mess with baby Jesus after breaking his brother’s nutcracker, placing the head where the star should be on the manger scene, and tipping over the cow for good measure.

It’s a wonder we haven’t had a third incident involving the septic tank this year, as busy as he’s been. I guess he’s gone from putting things down the toilet to putting things down his hatch, breaking big things like plumbing systems to breaking small things. I will consider this a blessing, and progress.

The only thing keeping him from getting a lump of coal in his stocking was what he urgently said today as he noticed all the leaves had fallen off the maple tree out front: “We need to get more leaves for the tree for Christmas!”

Ah, the season of destruction just may yet yield to the season of giving!

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