A Yard Walk

I just walked around the yard and gardens snapping random pictures. You're welcome to walk along with me ...

In Memory

Consider this post as a moment of silence in honor of my friend -- a mom who is remembering a daughter lost unexpectedly in a car accident, 10 years ago. Tiffany would have been 29 this year but as her grave marker says, her physical life stopped at 19. Like so many Mom's who experience sudden loss, my friend's life had to go on somehow. I've been privileged to learn much from her epic challenges, and I testify that the verse which sits permanently by this grave has become her life's hope, and mantra.
Remembering Tiffany ... and the parents and family who loved her.

Devani's Hope
"I can do all things, through Christ who strengthens me."
The Bible, Phil. 4:13


We speak a universal language. It's hardwired into all of us. Bobby McFerrin proves it in another way. Check it out.

P.S. Thanks to Nikki for posting it first!

All Cleaned Up.

This is what we look like ... 'in case you were wondering.
Family Reunion, 2009

New School

Yesterday was the first day of school here in Teller County. Small bundles of parents gathered outside the kindergarten doors, getting their 1st instructions and waving goodbye to their tiny little people in tiny little backpacks. Middleschoolers scrambled to find friends in their homerooms and at their lunch tables. The empty parking lot at the high school was crammed full for the first time in months. Everywhere, classroom cubbies and lockers were filled, and schedules started. And for the first time at my house, all school kids left on their own. One son donned his backpack and walked out the door; two others got in the car and drove off together.
The simple fact that every son now leaves on their own makes me feel like I am starting at a new school, too. Nothing about my school morning looks familiar. It's like the classroom of my life just got a big dose of breathing space.
We do not live within limits of any bus routes. So morning school transport means walking, biking, or driving. In crazier years, I have had to navigate children getting to three different schools. Which meant around and 1 1/2 to two hours a day in the car, spread out in various 15-20 minute segments. Anything productive in life had to be lived in small pie-shaped pieces of a sliced-up day. Consequently, my kids have had to do a lot of walking, or worse, waiting and wondering if I was going to remember to pick them up.
Words I'd choose to describe that time are "scatter-brained," "in a hurry," or "chicken-with-her-head-cut-off." I know you know what I'm talking about -- either because you've lived it too, or you know someone like me.
So, it's hard to explain what a profound difference it is, to wave goodbye to my kids and step into this small bit of free space. It's like when a half-day kindergartner starts the full days of 1st grade and now you have several hours that are yours ... alone. Or, maybe like shutting the door behind you and looking around at that first apartment when it's just you, and empty space, and a whole new life ahead. That's what my 1st-week-of-school mornings feel like.
Here I am at my desk, and it feels like my invisible teacher is now standing in front of a huge map and chalkboard, explaining that I am starting with an "A" -- and I can keep it or lose it. For the record, I always loose the "A" unless it's band, drama, or english. Realistically, I will not be keeping this "A" either. An "F" in this new class will happen if I completely don't show up, and do nothing with the this opportunity to learn.
So, I'm left deciding what to do with my little bit of new morning free time. And, as luxurious as that may sound, it's not all that tidy. There are a million things shouting to be tended; A thousand small details, a hundred possible projects, a dozen unattended To-Do's. I am feeling pretty certain that I'll loose my "A" if the clamor from all those things gets my first attention. My first attention in this new learning space has to be about slowing down and attending to the quieter priorities that get lost when life is loud, fast, and crazy. That's the goal. And it's not as easy as it sounds.
Apparently there's a lot to learn in this new season. And I want all my fellow students to know that there's absolutely nothing wrong with a decent "B-".

'Gotta go. 'Bell rang. 'Late for class.

The Cup Speaks

Today, I was sitting at a fast food spot with my husband when my cup started talking. It wasn't just announcing the latest Meal Deal. My medium sized ice-coffee was talking to me, and to everybody around me, about me.
The red words framed in the middle of my cup, explained to me what was happening. Were it not for those words, I would have gone the rest of my day without knowing. Turns out, the cup had a lot to say. I had no idea. Really.
My cup was apparently making a statement. It was saying that I am an "ambitious yet responsible person." Which, I must say, is flattering. It was also declaring to anybody who was looking, that I "know exactly what I want in life, nothing more, nothing less." And, wow, that makes me feel a little proud. Like, who's been watching me? How does this cup KNOW? Because, if I were really honest, I would have said that isn't exactly how I usually feel, at all. But, you know, now that the cup said it ... now that I dig deep and think about it... yeah... that totally describes me. And, as though that weren't prophetic enough, the cup says I "could have gone larger" but I didn't. And, bulls-eye that I "could have gone smaller but again," I deferred. This cup knows me in a freakish way and it's announcing me to the world.
My whole life to this point has been wasted on the belief that a cup is just a container for my beverage. But, today is a brand new day. Life starts now.
So, yeah ... I want to say it right now, "Listen to the cup everybody." I am in total agreement with the cup. My cup's got something to say.

"This cup makes a statement about you.
It says, "Hey, look at me, I'm an ambitious yet responsible person."
You could have gone larger, but you didn't.
You could have gone smaller, but again, you deferred.
No, you know exactly what you want in life,
nothing more, nothing less.
It's good when you



Some of you may have thought I was serious about the cup. Which just goes to show I have a ways to go before writing satire. The cup bothered me to no end, and I found myself involuntarily saying out loud to Steve across the table as I read the cup, "Really?!" and "No." and "This is too much."
To be clear, I think cups are just cups. They do not have my permission to make statements about me ... or you It's just stupid marketing that needs to stop.

The Crowd

The Big Group

These pix will have to be worth the 1000 words I can't write right now.   It's time for me to unpack and catch up on the million details that were waiting for me after the big family reunion. In the meantime, here's what our group looks like.  This is a representation of 8 family units from all across the country.  And, we all know, pictures like these only come around once in a great while b/c it's so complicated to get everybody in one place!
My Family of Origin
Lonna Hrabacka, Nate Evans, Mom (Joann Gay), Dad (Art Gay), Me, Kim Leonard.

The Grandkids.


It's paint-by-numbers poetry. It probably offends true poets everywhere.  I wrote this poem by following a template on the web. And it was pretty fun. I'm going to have my sons each write one while we are on the road to a family reunion next week. At least two of them will not enjoy doing it at all.  So be it.  I birthed them.  They owe me.

You can write your own "I AM" poem, or have your friend, spouse, siblings, or kids do it, too. Just go to the website and fill in the blanks.  It's a good process that takes a little thought.  Be serious, ridiculous, or funny, it doesn't matter. It's your "I AM."  

If you do one, please copy it as a comment below.  I'd love to publish a whole bunch of 'em on this blog.  Go for it!

The "I AM" poem link:  http://ettcweb.lr.k12.nj.us/forms/iampoem.htm

I Am

I am random and intuitive. 
I wonder why God chose sacrifice as his final answer. 
I hear my heart beating. 
I see beyond this dimension, sometimes. 
I want to grow. 
I am random and intuitive.

I pretend that I am confident. 
I feel like a feather that is just floating through. 
I touch my sons' lives. 
I worry that I have not given them what they need. 
I cry about children unsafe and people lost. 
I am random and intuitive. 

I understand that I am a clay jar, full of a power that is not my own. 
I say life's main point is found in loving God and people. 
I dream about tornadoes. 
I try to give very little advice and ask a lot of questions. 
I hope that my life is remembered as a broken arrow that pointed straight to Jesus. 
I am random and intuitive.


Panting Picture

A Facebook friend posted this picture today stating that,
 "Little kids at family reunions are the best part."  
'True that.
I love the way this tiny little girl is mirroring the panting old dog.  Precious.
Just passing along the cuteness. 

Posted by Mark Kraakevik, Photo by Jim Jefson.

Backpacker Scrapbook

This is a slide show glimpse of last week's wild adventure. It was a 5th Annual backpack trip with some hardy friends of mine.  We had 3 days and two nights in the wilderness complete with rain, thunder, lightning, hail, and a big scare crossing a river. In between all that, was time full of good conversation and more wildflowers than I've seen in my entire life.  'Couldn't ask for more.

Maroon Bells Wilderness, CO

(If you want to see the pix larger or at your own pace, just hit "View All Images" )


I am off backpacking in the Crested Butte area of Colorado.
That means a quiet blog for a couple days. So for today, quotes on quiet.

The truth is that parents are not really
interested in justice. They just want quiet.

Bill Cosby
There's just no quiet in Vegas.
Barry Manilow
All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.
Blaise Pascal
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God.
Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.
Anne Frank
God's voice is still and quiet and easily buried under an avalanche of clamour.
Charles Stanley

Thanks for checking The Spill.
The time you choose to spend here
is valued and appreciated.

Happy first-days-of-August!

(Pictured: Poppies in the front yard. 7/09)