M is for Memories…

M is for Memories…

We just arrived home this evening. I drove the last 6+ hours of an eleven hour drive (by choice – my beloved offered, but I really prefer to drive.) Traffic from the Virginia border northward was simply NUTS. Three lanes of traffic, bumper-to-bumper, pushing 70 mph. It’s just mentally exhausting.

But I can set that memory aside as I look at pictures from vacation…

This was where I had morning coffee, or an afternoon brew…
It overlooks the salt marsh, where the ibis, herons and egrets congregate.
And you know you are on vacation when you can sit in one place and watch
the tide turn…
This was taken one bright, sunny day (as you can see!)
from the beach, looking back at the row of houses.
My mom’s place is second from the right. These are
duplexes — spacious, quiet and refreshing.
I love this beach because it’s a quiet, natural beach.
We never know what the shape of the shoreline will
be, or what critters will show up as we walk it. We loved
the barnacles on the back of this horseshoe crab!
One evening the girls and I went to the pool for a swim.
While they were in the water, I shot the sunset from the deck.
This overlooks the salt marsh, so the reflection was really something.
Our annual family photo: Yours truly, The Harpist (soon
to be The Johnnie!), Reedy Girl and Bearded Brewer. Taken
our last night on the beach. sigh….

SO… when my classes start to get to me, or my deadlines for papers and projects are too close together, I will wander back to my photos and remember… this space. This time. This resting place.

Thanks, Lord.

College mindset from Beloit…

I read this year’s list from Beloit College on the “mindset” of the “average college freshman” since we have one (a child entering college.) I found it a little surprising. Maybe we’ve done a good job (or at least better than “average”) with our progeny…

Most students entering college for the first time this fall were born in 1991. (true. someone can do higher math… )

  1. For these students, Martha Graham, Pan American Airways, Michael Landon, Dr. Seuss, Miles Davis, The Dallas Times Herald, Gene Roddenberry, and Freddie Mercury have always been dead. (since they live on in their art… are they really “dead”?)
  2. Dan Rostenkowski, Jack Kevorkian, and Mike Tyson have always been felons. (and that’s no great loss.)
  3. The Green Giant has always been Shrek, not the big guy picking vegetables. (um. FAIL.)
  4. They have never used a card catalog to find a book. (again – FAIL.)
  5. Margaret Thatcher has always been a former prime minister. (so?)
  6. Salsa has always outsold ketchup. (depends on the household, I guess.)
  7. Earvin “Magic” Johnson has always been HIV-positive. (since I worked with an AIDS ministry in the 90s, it really was never a big wow factor.)
  8. Tattoos have always been very chic and highly visible. (chic? a matter of opinion. highly visible? not particularly.)
  9. They have been preparing for the arrival of HDTV all their lives. (and… so?)
  10. Rap music has always been main stream. (not in our house.)
  11. Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream has always been a flavor choice. (aha! Finally something worthwhile on this list.)
  12. Someone has always been building something taller than the Willis (née Sears) Tower in Chicago. (OK, but not something we lose sleep over.)
  13. The KGB has never officially existed. (unless you watch old movies!)
  14. Text has always been hyper. (still use a lot of the print stuff around here.)
  15. They never saw the “Scud Stud” (but there have always been electromagnetic stud finders.) (no clue.)
  16. Babies have always had a Social Security Number. (OK)
  17. They have never had to “shake down” an oral thermometer. (Fail.)
  18. Bungee jumping has always been socially acceptable. (possible vs. acceptable.)
  19. They have never understood the meaning of R.S.V.P. (FAIL.)
  20. American students have always lived anxiously with high-stakes educational testing. (another education establishment experiment…)
  21. Except for the present incumbent, the President has never inhaled. (this is newsworthy why?)
  22. State abbreviations in addresses have never had periods. (apparently other 18 year olds have not written formal papers.)
  23. The European Union has always existed. (whoopee.)
  24. McDonald’s has always been serving Happy Meals in China. (again. whoopee.)
  25. Condoms have always been advertised on television. (mission critical?)
  26. Cable television systems have always offered telephone service and vice versa. (really? no clue.)
  27. Christopher Columbus has always been getting a bad rap. (laughter…)
  28. The American health care system has always been in critical condition. (depends on the hospital/provider.)
  29. Bobby Cox has always managed the Atlanta Braves. (um. Where is Beloit? in Georgia? eh.)
  30. Desperate smokers have always been able to turn to Nicoderm skin patches. (another good reason not to start!)
  31. There has always been a Cartoon Network. (only if you have “always” had cable.)
  32. The nation’s key economic indicator has always been the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). (news to me.)
  33. Their folks could always reach for a Zoloft. (but we don’t.)
  34. They have always been able to read books on an electronic screen. (this assumes that “books” have been available on PCs since the early 90s? in whose home?)
  35. Women have always outnumbered men in college. (whatever.)
  36. We have always watched wars, coups, and police arrests unfold on television in real time. (again. do other people not turn off their TVs?)
  37. Amateur radio operators have never needed to know Morse code. (again a little known fact)
  38. Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Latvia, Georgia, Lithuania, and Estonia have always been independent nations. (cool.)
  39. It’s always been official: President Zachary Taylor did not die of arsenic poisoning. (I never knew he had/hadn’t.)
  40. Madonna’s perspective on Sex has always been well documented. (If one actually cares…)
  41. Phil Jackson has always been coaching championship basketball. (No clue who that is either.)
  42. Ozzy Osbourne has always been coming back. (with fewer brain cells each time.)
  43. Kevin Costner has always been Dancing with Wolves, especially on cable. (good idea.)
  44. There have always been flat screen televisions. (really? guess we are still on our “old” non-flat one.)
  45. They have always eaten Berry Berry Kix. (ew. unlikely.)
  46. Disney’s Fantasia has always been available on video, and It’s a Wonderful Life has always been on Moscow television. (Yes on the first – no clue on the second.)
  47. Smokers have never been promoted as an economic force that deserves respect. (HALLELUJAH!)
  48. Elite American colleges have never been able to fix the price of tuition. (And the pedestrian, state colleges haven’t been able to, either.)
  49. Nobody has been able to make a deposit in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). (never heard of it.)
  50. Everyone has always known what the evening news was before the Evening News came on. (who watches the news today?)
  51. Britney Spears has always been heard on classic rock stations. (again… there are other stations.)
  52. They have never been Saved by the Bell (we never did watch that show either.)
  53. Someone has always been asking: “Was Iraq worth a war?” (good question!)
  54. Most communities have always had a mega-church. (I am not sure if this is good or bad.)
  55. Natalie Cole has always been singing with her father. (OK.)
  56. The status of gays in the military has always been a topic of political debate. (good!)
  57. Elizabeth Taylor has always reeked of White Diamonds. (reek is an excellent way to say it.)
  58. There has always been a Planet Hollywood. (again – unimportant.)
  59. For one reason or another, California’s future has always been in doubt. (I should care about this, I guess.)
  60. Agent Starling has always feared the Silence of the Lambs. (how many 18 year olds actually have watched that movie?)
  61. “Womyn” and “waitperson” have always been in the dictionary. (LOL…)
  62. Members of Congress have always had to keep their checkbooks balanced since the closing of the House Bank. (GOOD!)
  63. There has always been a computer in the Oval Office. (good to know.)
  64. CDs have never been sold in cardboard packaging. (there is a reason for that.)
  65. Avon has always been “calling” in a catalog. (and got a busy signal…)
  66. NATO has always been looking for a role. (good one.)
  67. Two Koreas have always been members of the UN. (probably wise.)
  68. Official racial classifications in South Africa have always been outlawed. (HALLELUJAH!)
  69. The NBC Today Show has always been seen on weekends. (assuming anyone watches it…)
  70. Vice presidents of the United States have always had real power. (LOL…)
  71. Conflict in Northern Ireland has always been slowly winding down. (Depends on where you live, I guess.)
  72. Migration of once independent media like radio, TV, videos and compact discs to the computer has never amazed them. (me neither.)
  73. Nobody has ever responded to “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” (this is significant, why?)
  74. Congress could never give itself a mid-term raise. (GOOD!)
  75. There has always been blue Jell-O. (not in my house.)

I guess either because I have the perspective of being an 18-year-old’s parent, or because we have tried pretty hard not to be mainstream parents, that I find this list rather anti-climatic.

And so it goes..


L is for…

L is for LUGGAGE….

We’re on vacation and I haven’t gotten around to doing more blogging. I’m grateful for this time with my husband and kids… grateful for a quiet corner of the universe where I can pray, rest and get back to “center”…


I’ll get back to the alphabet later.

There’s leisure time to be enjoyed…


K is for….

The letter K in my alphabetic gratitudes…

Kairos and Kairos Outside… I am privileged to share in a ministry that reaches out to men, women and teens who are impacted by incarceration. Whether it is a friend or a relative, friend or foe, living with the results of someone you care about being in prison is life-changing. I am grateful that God allows me to serve the women of Kairos Outside.

Jesus said,

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)

I am just going to blog about this for my letter today…. so sit and enjoy a virtual cup of tea and let me share with you about a very special ministry that I am involved with called Kairos Outside…

Kairos Outside began in California in 1989 and is a ministry designed to reach out to wives, mothers, sisters and other adult female family members/friends of the incarcerated to let them know there is a Christian community that cares about them and their needs.

Kairos Outside is set up as a weekend retreat to help strengthen the family unit and encourage small support groups. On two weekends a year, we provide a secure place for 24 women to share their struggles.

Kairos means “God’s special time”. In the lives of these women, we know it will be God’s special time for them.

I am sharing this information with you because I will be one of the team members serving on the next Kairos Outside Weekend in Maryland. Kairos Outside #7 will be held September 25-27. 2009. The theme of the weekend is Soar With Jesus. My job is to serve as one of the Spiritual Directors (pastors). I am stepping out of my comfort zone, but I know God goes ahead of me and will be my Helper.

We need your help in a prayer commitment and financially to share this weekend of God’s love. You can help us make it possible for this important ministry to continue.

Please take a few minutes TODAY to remember these women and to prayerfully consider a contribution. Donations of all amounts are greatly appreciated! It costs $180 to sponsor a woman for the weekend. $56 will provide all of the meals for one woman. $7 pays for breakfast, $10 pays for lunch, and $12 covers the cost of dinner. So, as you can see, any size donation is a blessing.

Thank you for your help as we share the goodness of God with these women.

God’s love, peace and blessings –


* Checks should be made payable to Kairos Outside of Maryland and may be mailed to me (I will send them on) OR you may mail them directly to Kairos Outside of Maryland, P.O. Box 401, Burtonsville, MD 20866

P.S. Check out the Maryland Kairos Outside website here!


J is for…..

JAYS – they make my kittehs happy. Nothing like a little live entertainment for a bored housecat to keep peace in the ranks.

JAVA… OK, I put Coffee under “C” and this is kinda double-dipping. But I do enjoy a GOOD cup of coffee in the morning. Just one big mug. I actually am decaffed the rest of the day. It’s the smell as much as the taste. Right now we are drinking coffee from a ministry in Nicaragua. Wonderful stuff – and buying it invests in the ministries our church supports there.

JOB… My husband has a steady job. I have a job as a TA which of course is not for the big bucks. But it is a job. Even The Harpist was given a work-study job as part of her financial aid. There aren’t enough jobs to go around. I’m grateful.

JUSTICE… Yes, there are still wrongs and prejudicial decisons and laws made in the US. But we have a greater chance for true justice to be lived out in this country than in many around the world. It’s not a small blessing.

JUICY BERRIES… Oh mannn!!!!!! LOOK at these puppies! They were being closed out from a roadside stand yesterday. Four pints were mine for $2.50! They exploded with juice when we ate them on cereal this morning. Dead ripe, juicy, sweet-tart blackberries. There will be a whole section of heaven with blackberries in it. I’m sure of that!

Having a very JAZZED day –


The after midnight edition of IIIIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii….. should be in bed. But I’m not. So let’s blog a little, shall we???

Ice cream… Graeter’s to be specific. Nom. smulch. yom. drool… Unfortunately, I need to be blessed with it a little less.

Ice cubes… Ok, just travel in Europe and drink luke-warm coke. Trust me. A blessing.

Inhalers… Yes, I am tired of sucking down micro-particles. But I am rather fond of breathing. How many people in the past died because they did not get the treatment they needed to live healthily with asthma? Probably far too many. SO – – because my next breath is clear and non-wheezy, and because I think maybe, finally!!! I have licked whatever bug knocked me low, thank you God for inhalers!!!

Introspection… It was an important skill to learn, being the extrovert type. But, as I’ve gotten better at it, I can honestly say I am glad that I have grown a wee bit in the last couple years. Taking the time to stop, pray, listen and respond to God has helped me in so many areas of my life.

Intercession… I remember specific instances where knowing someone was praying for me made the difference in coping with a difficult time. When my dad was terminally ill, there were people praying for me. There was this sense of a physical burden being removed from my shoulders, and being taken by ‘someone’ else. I have never forgotten that. When God wakes me up (or keeps me up) I search my mind for who I could pray for. And then I do. A blessing.

Intelligence… There are days I could use more of it. But I know that I have been given the ability to think and reason and respond to the ideas and life events around me.

Interdependence… There are several people that I have found are those “strong tower” people in my world. I lean on them. They lean on me. We kinda prop each other up, you know? And in those special relationships, where God is the third strand? Wow. Pretty amazing.

Ideas… I am an outside-the-box thinker. Big time. (Just thought I would be Captain Obvious in case you hadn’t caught on to that one…) I like to explore and try new concepts. It’s what keeps me fresh and positive.

And on that note – I will try the “new concept” of sleep. Maybe…