Many Quotes. One Topic.
  • You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. -- Desmond Tutu
  • Family life is full of major and minor crises -- the ups and downs of health, success and failure in career, marriage, and divorce -- and all kinds of characters. It is tied to places and events and histories. With all of these felt details, life etches itself into memory and personality. It's difficult to imagine anything more nourishing to the soul. -- Thomas Moore
  • One of life's greatest mysteries is how the boy who wasn't good enough to marry your daughter can be the father of the smartest grandchild in the world. -- Unknown
  • The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. -- Erma Bombeck
  • Your family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing.-- Jim Rohn
  • If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance. - George Bernard Shaw
  • Having a family is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain. -- Martin Mull
  • A man should never neglect his family for business. -- Walt Disney
  • A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold. -- Ogden Nash
  • A family is a place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living. -- Charles Swindoll
  • In every conceivable manner, a family is link to our past and bridge to our future. -- Alex Haley

Weeping Aspens

Spring rain in the mountains apparently makes the aspens cry.
I like to think they're weeping for joy.


Photos taken by Kleigh 5.25.09


Our Memorial Day trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park -- Mosca, Colorado. The tallest sand dunes in North America! We had a blast.

For more information check out the website: http://www.nps.gov/grsa/

Dripping Castles

There are many methods of sand castle construction. Scooping. Elaborate Sculpting. Free Forming. Bucket Dumping. My sons do the Drip Method. It's an artform passed down from Steve. Our last castle event happened while we were at the Great Sand Dunes. The guys all situated themselves along a snowmelt stream which flows heavily through the dunes in early spring and summer, then disappears into the hot sands of July. It was a perfect day for building sand in the sun and water.

Dripping Castles require a certain wet mix of water and sand which, when poured through the thumb and forefingers at precisely the right angle, creates a structure that looks like something emerged from middle earth. I have not mastered the Drip Castle. But I absolutely love collecting foundation rocks, and watching the guys build. It's has been many summers of Dripping Castles together. And my husband and sons have yet to outgrow the hours consumed by this shoulder-to-shoulder creating. For me, it's the best of all spectator sports!


Practically Speaking. Our counter fills with cups over the summer. Tall glasses, plastic tumblers, and drinking cups empty out of the cupboards, then they park together patiently on the counter, waiting for the dishwasher. With so many family and friends here at home, it's hard to keep track of whose glass is whose. In order to avoid germ sharing, new glasses are constantly being pulled out, just in case. So... this summer's solution is clothes pins with names. I got a pack of small pins so there are extras for cousins and friends.
Disclaimer: Do not attempt to drink with the clothes pin still attached to the rim. Even though it's really kind of funny to watch, I feel compelled to warn you: The clothes pins make it impossible to drink from the glass and are perfectly situated to poke an eyeball while you try. Leave the pins by the sink or dishwasher. : )

Summer's Gift

Today was the last day of school here in our little town. It was a half-day. This afternoon, streams of children and teens filled the sidewalks and parks in a rainy day of school's-out activities. At around 1:30, Lucas (11) was ready to ask me what was for dinner when he realized that he still had the rest of the day left. He sighed with relief.
Normally, his only 'free' time is the short sliver of hours before breakfast and after school. He measures those minutes like gold, and hates to have to do anything that uses his time up. Heaven forbid someone should ask him to go along to the grocery store or take a long drive during 'his' time. Isaac (13) has explained very clearly that he considers school to be his 'day job.' His better life happens when he leaves those doors. School is a thief of all things outdoors and imaginative. School hours gobble up time. So, the biggest gift of the last day of school came out with the sigh, "Now I don't have to worry about my time anymore. I have more time!"
There is absolutely no reason to warn them that they are already running out of their few childhood summers full of open spaces and free time. They'll find out soon enough. We all do. In the meantime, happy summer vacation! Enjoy the time.

Re-Opening for Summer

The Spill will be starting back up and running for the summer

Watch for it!
Thanks so much for being a Spill reader.



My winter morning routine consists of turning on the coffee maker, then racing to unload the dishwasher and throw in a load of laundry before the dripping pot fills. Winter coffee is consumed on the retro green floral love seat in my bedroom. Spring coffee is preceded by the same coffee pot race, but it is consumed as I stroll around my gardens. Right now, it's a brisk walk. We're still waiting for real spring in the mountains. The kitchen window thermometer has been reading somewhere in the high 30's as I pour my cup. One small patch of snow is still lurking under a tree in the yard. My perennials are all acting like victims of a violent crime. They are only cautiously peaking a couple hesitant of inches out of hiding to make sure it's safe to come out. Even though there are some green signs of life, the dominant focal point of my garden is last year's dead stems, and dirt. Not even one crocus yet, and today is the first day of May!
Today, on my dirt stroll, the only thing blooming was a thought in my head. This thought was about what I choose to believe when something expected is delayed. Spring is delayed this year. There has been little solid evidence that leaves and flowers ever lived here. And yet, I choose to put on my shoes, stroll outside, and crane down over the soil looking for signs of life. Every morning, I expect life. I peer down into the gnarly mess of old dead stems, with unwavering expectation that tender sprouts will shoot up from that dormant space. There is no question about 'if' Spring will happen. My daily dirt stroll always assumes a 'when.'

There are silent messages to be found in the yard. The mountain peak towers over the forest without a word, and points to the possibility of something larger and more powerful than any of us. An afternoon lightning bolt can steal away a life, and jolt us to remember the unpredictability of death. The quaking of aspen leaves indicate the direction and existence of an invisible and untameable wind. And, my morning garden is a mute declaration of something larger than flowers. Every year, it silently repeats that new life springs forth from apparently dead places.

Maybe you'll relate to this, maybe you won't. But, there are areas of my life that desperately need to grow. There are parts of me that are dormant and need to wake. They act like victims of violent crime, afraid to emerge. I have familiar dances that I do so that I do not have to think about those things. Because if I think about them, I have to dare to hope for something better. And in one particular area, I have dared to hope too many times without big transformational results.
Said another way, when God's work delays arrival in my gnarly dead stems, I lose the hope for new sprouts. And, hope deferred too many times turns to despair. So, I'd rather sit inside and not feel the cold reality. I'd rather sit on the flat green flowers of my warm sedentary couch, content to tell myself that's 'good enough.' In the wintry places of my life, I start to believe there is no 'when' of spring. I start to settle for a hopeless and apparently dead state. I begin believe the transformation of new life as only a possibility, not a certainty. I settle for fake flowers on a green couch.

And yet ... I now wake in the morning and walk outside in the cold of spring and expect very real flowers to grow in my garden. I peer down into the black dirt with no doubts that life exists below. I expect something to rescue and restore what is buried somewhere under the surface. Nature silently sends this cosmic truth to me; God redeems lost beauty. He breaths life into dead places. Tender shoots raise above brittle stems. Wide-awake color overtakes black-and-white sleep.
So I walk, and watch, and wait, for when it all happens. I believe the greening of spring will happen. Its faithful repetition over time is the expression of something proven and trustworthy. It is a yearly anchor for hope.

Over the years, I have watched the repetition of redemption and transformation in many dead places of my real life. I have an anchor of hope for my soul. I do. So why don't I get it? Why does my faith not make a daily stroll of hope around the dormant place in my own soul? Why don't I peer into that one place and expect life? Instead, I carefully step around that unredeemed pit. To me, it only looks, smells, and feels like death. I have learned its edges. Because, a slip over the edge sometimes means a fight for my life. I intentionally avoid it. And I have slowly come to believe there is no hope of conquest or resurrection for what's down there. It is my dormant dirt.
But today that small blooming thought made me look inward: What I see and believe for the garden, I refuse to believe for myself. And today, the general revelation in my garden asks me to specifically believe. It points to something trustworthy and faithful and says, "Get off the couch and step into the garden. Don't settle for fake flowers. Search for something real. Expect New Life."
Maybe you need to hear it, too. So I'll speak it from the garden. This I believe:
There is perennial reason to hope. God has to ability to resurrect lost beauty. He will bring life from the dirt; And this not an 'if', but a 'when.'

"I am the resurrection and the life."