Adventure into the Mountains

What a wonderful day we had yesterday , driving for about 90 minutes from high desert to high mountain terrain! I do love Albuquerque, and am so thankful to be able to experience it from time to time. It helps that one of my daughters and her family live here, but I am thankful nonetheless.

The tradition here is to pay $10.00 for a permit , drive to the Jemez Mountains and cut your own Christmas tree. God, in His Sovereign disposition of all things, gave us an absolutely perfect day! It was about 48* when we left the house, with packed snacks, boots, snow gear, sleds, rope, saw, and high spirits. We actually circled back for the sleds, when we forgot them the first time out at 9:45 am.  Fortunately, we were only 2 exits up I25 N so it was an easy retreat! ( In the Crockpot at home was a delicious beef stew in the making ) so finally we were on our way. Blue skies, scattered clouds, bright sunshine, no wind and happy hearts heading to get The Tree!

The terrain started changing about 30 minutes from home.IMG_5690

For this Easterner it was an exciting observation, seeing the flat change into scrub brush and arroyos. Canyons, like on the Westerns I watched as a kid, were reality.’

Soon we came to the Jemez Welcome Center where we bought the permit and resisted the souvenirs. They had an example of an outdoor ‘orno’ which is how the Indians bake things, always outside the houses. I wish they had bread baking and I certainly would have weakened!

Off we went, getting excited to see if there would be any snow for those sleds we went back for, and where our tree would be. The rules say no tree cutting near the roads, you must go back about 30 ft at least, but we were ready for the trek! The boys were as calm as a bag full of healthy snacks could keep them, and I was snapping a kazillion photos!IMG_5724IMG_5725

Finally there was a turn off spot to the right, a  snow covered road that had  an unknown ending, so we parked the Suburu, 4 wheel drive included. Tug and Ammy were quite fine with that decision!

Out came the snow pants, mittens, hats, sleds, boots, saw and water. Always water at 6000 ft altitude, or you will wish you had it and start eating snow. Oh, did I mention how the snow just appeared as we drove up the mountain road?! So much snow- quite an amazing sight!

It soon became clear that to find a tree, a hike into the woods had to occur. Up the steep hill went Robin, then after a quick snow angel was made, Tug joined the upward climb. I hesitated…should I go and risk missing the fun , or should I risk killing myself on the slippery slopes? The no risk rule won, and I stayed behind and sat, listening to the quiet, watching for birds. I  took more photos of various aspens clumps and waited for the tree gatherers to return.

Did I mention how much I loved this place!?!

So much beauty in creation! So many reasons to sing praises to God! How easy to forget there is a Creator in the Universe around us and simply take it for granted, forgetting to actually say Thank You God for this stunningly beautiful visual! My eyesight, the sense of smelling the fresh snow and pine scents around me, the ability to walk, to have a camera to record the moment, securing it into my fragile, unreliable memory! All this and more were things I thanked Him for as I sat waiting for the tree. I had been warned that perhaps we would need to stop and hike multiple times.

Soon I heard a sound much different from the quiet whispering pines and crinkling aspens. Yes, there it was , a loud giggling through the trees! I was fairly certain it was a victorious giggle and not a mountain lion from the rear.(my secret fear, secret no more).

Here they came, the trekkers, running and falling and pulling a tree through the woods!

The happiest sound, however, was the little voice that shouted, “Ammy, Ammy, we got you a tree for your casita!!”. And through the woods came Tug, holding up the tree he had found me, so that I too, could have a special Christmas tree this Christmas!  Ah, yes, thank you God, for these little moments in time that remind me what is important in life, and how deeply You care for me through these children’s love.

The car was loaded, the little people occasionally rolling down their windows to tell dad “It’s still there!” ended our day’s adventure. The evening ahead was full of decorating and listening to the crackling fire , begun with the Yule Log (a stump cut from last year’s Christmas tree), and Christmas music in the background. Then the beef stew. Ah yes, it was a wonderful day!!

There is a final thought that continues to niggle itself into the recesses of my mind, and I think I will share it.

Tradition is all well and good, and I was queen of making fun traditions as I raised 7 children for many, many years. Little moments and events that made life fun!  Sometimes we can get ourselves all caught up in feelings of missing such traditions  when the children grow old and go out on their own rather than embracing the new ideas and fun things life has in store. Just as God reminds us that His mercies are new every morning, I was able to celebrate a new tradition this year with this part of my family. Nothing is exactly the same, but in each new tradition I am able to clearly feel love and fun and the excitement of a growing family. What if I had  held onto the old ways and felt sadness instead?

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift, and for His many gifts to me this year  of 2019.

Fly by Faith


heading west


de icing of the plane


through dense clouds and fog


neat rows of clouds below


snow across the land


Dallas arrival




wind farm


a plane flies below


watching the shadow of us


the mountains


the destination

Psalm 148

Praise the Lord!

Praise Him in the heights!

Praise Him, all His angels!

Praise Him, all His hosts!

Praise Him, sun and moon!

Praise Him all you stars of light!

Praise Him, you heaven of heavens,

and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,  for He commanded and they were created.

He also established them forever and ever;  He made a decree which shall not pass away.

Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted, His glory is above the earth and heaven.

This beautiful Psalm always becomes more vivid and real as I take on my fear of flying and practice the art of flying by faith and not by sight, or the understanding of airplanes.

God, Creator of the earth below , has me in His mighty, Sovereign hand and I am His servant and child. Should He decide for me to die by airplane, the fear I have carried for so many years will not change a thing. It will just keep me trapped in its grip, and be unable to enjoy the moments before me.

I had asked a few friends to pray for me specifically that day, November 12, 2019, and several more knew I struggled with this phobia which began during a crisis point in my younger life. The decision to overcome the phobia was years in coming. I missed many wonderful opportunities for joy and travel, trapped in its grip. Years wasted, unable and unwilling to rid myself of a decision not to fly and confront it. There was Italy, Panama, Brasil, and more ~all being places I was invited to visit, but refused.

Then one day, 2009 I think, I took this enemy on, FEAR.  Forward by faith in the One who had never left me, forsook me nor betrayed me. The only One who understood the inner child crying out with a desire to walk more in my faith, not in my fear and love the life He was giving me.

Back to this flight, where I am certain an awakening took place within my inner self. The early morning trip to the airport began with pouring rain, making my nerves on edge and stomach knot up. It is so frustrating to have your body respond to what your head is trying to bury!!

I received a text from Cindy T,  “Praying for safe travels”. We had not spoken in awhile and for her to even remember the flight encouraged me beyond words. My son assured me he was praying too.

Then Shirley, Pam, Marilyn, Carol, Jat, Cyndi,  all texting me before the world was in gear and awake, just to remind me of their love and prayers. Another couple of friends emailed me as well! This avalanche of love was an amazing comfort to my fearful self. It lifted me up in a way that is hard to describe, but since all glory does go to God, I must try!

I was beginning a transfer of my thoughts to positive things, hopeful possibilities, fun filled moments ahead. I felt like perhaps this might not be horrible. Perhaps I could let go of the enemy’s tactic of robbing me of the joy I find daily in knowing Jesus!

But the battle was strong, even as we boarded and snowy rainy ice fell from the sky, and the plane had to be de-iced for takeoff. Not a calming moment, but one where I began applying my new plan of action. Rather than think we might crash with ice, I was able to think that the airlines were so careful they did not take chances with bad weather. A slight switch in thought, with very large results.

Why was I able to think differently? There is no doubt in my mind that the prayers of God’s people were being answered! God does not need our prayers, He loves them! His plans for me were not altered as a result of these praying saints, but indeed, they must know how impactful on ME the prayers were! I was lifted, surrounded by love, carrying me above what I could do on my own. The Holy Spirit walks with me (God promised Him when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior so many years ago!), and I felt His Presence.

This was not a spooky event, just an unbelievably reassuring reality as I flew through the clouds, across the USA at 38,000 ft, and landed and took off another time in Dallas, and flew over mountains and even a smaller airplane! God had this all under His Sovereign reign and accepting it made me relax.

I sat next to a NUN! I am not a Catholic, so my knowledge of nuns is minimal, but her life story was told to me during the trip, and her 87 yr old stature of calm and quiet in itself was very reassuring. She even giggled together with me over the non-stop talking loudly Italian lady in front of us!!  God places the passengers quite properly, I am sure. I told her if she loved Jesus Christ, I guessed we were SISTERS in Him! 🙂

Why do I write this to anyone who will read it? I have thought a lot of this very question. I have a particular person in my life who will either mock this, ignore it, or smile tolerantly, and she comes to mind. It is because when I decided I believed the claims of Jesus Christ back around 1960, I meant it. I want a continued pattern of glorifying Him in my life to be what people remember when I die. I want to image the God of Scripture whenever possible.

Two days ago, when I flew so high above the clouds, He took my fear of flying away and replaced it with a stronger faith in Himself! To God be glory, forever and ever, amen

Pray for one another, in faith, and watch as God uses your prayers to transform His world.

The First Grandson Graduates

Mercy unto you, and peace and love be multiplied. Jude 1

Grammy and Eliot
Here he is~ my handsome, winsome, quiet, well mannered, firstborn grandson Eliot.

He was born in a year that most people immediately associate with 9/11 and national trauma and disaster.

In my small piece of God’s big world, in His even bigger universe, 2001 was my own year of several disasters. My father dropped dead suddenly of a heart attack as he was playing golf, one beautiful May day in Tennessee. It happened to be on the same day as we were readying the home of Eliot’s parents to receive him from the hospital birth experience. This was a first time experience, for parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles all, so excitement ran high that day.

eli and grammyHe was a cutie, his preciousness as yet unknown and still anticipated with much joy and thanksgiving to God, the giver of all good things.

My father, dead? It barely could compute as he was 71 years old, in pretty decent health and quite well loved as the beloved Baba. He had called me that very morning and said “Sue, being a grandfather has been grand, but being a great grandfather is greater!”

The emotions went from ceiling to basement in one fell swoop. I recall thinking the timing was horrific, as agonizing as the news was, but never considering that God’s gift of Eliot was any less beautiful or important.

A month later, my husband of 30 years announced his intention to leave the marriage and head back to his former country of origin, leaving the children and myself, and our newborn grandson, beautiful and small as he was, to return to a life that did not include any of us. BAM. This news hit me hard and as I floundered under the weight of my pain and devastation,  God’s Word, memorized when I was a teen aged girl, kept interrupting my thoughts and giving me Hope. Impossible Hope in an upside down world! The verse I returned to mentally, most often, was:

Psalm 46:10


20190330_173622Back to the future….

Eliot graduating from High School!! It was a delightfully full past 18 years, after the shock and grief settled in, the divorce happened, the children grew in spite of trauma and pain, it was Blessing upon Blessing that my world experienced.

Learning to be a proper Grammy, so different and less exhausting than being the parent, took up hours of former ‘think time’ and replaced it with new memories and images. The last years are not to be ignored or minimized as to their negative consequences, just put into perspective, like a new book being written, because the chapters are done of that Book 1 of Sue.

The first of 13 grandchildren has graduated from High School!! There was a line of accomplishment when my youngest son graduated from High School, but still so much pain and difficulty ahead, making that line seem less clear. A few more chapters had to be added onto my book from that graduation until now.

The happy chapters included baby births, love expanding and growing deeper and deeper, spouses adding on to the family tree, as gnarled and broken as it seems to be!There is never a heart that cannot stretch to love people more! Mine keeps stretching, as I see Book 2 of Sue might include other spouses and babies to love- in that future I mentioned. 🙂

Always remembering that God, Who actually provided for our brokenness, also known to Him as SIN, by sending His own Son to die , take the punishment and bear the guilt that I deserved, helps me to know He is compassionate, kind, loving , and Holy. I actually want Him to punish SIN, because He alone can do it Justly. I am simply thankful to have Jesus love me. This helps on the Miserable chapter days, truly!

This morning I was kind of stuck in my head about my ‘former troubles’, so was praying for the Holy Spirit(Who, by the way resides within me to HELP me!!!) to give me encouragement from His Word. I decided Lamentations would help .(God had allowed the destruction of Jerusalem, way bigger devastation than my simple life!) I know from years of walking with Jesus that most every trouble is helped by seeing God’s Word and perspective!

Chapter 3, “Remember my affliction and roaming…my soul still remembers…then I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.

verse 22- Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions they fail not; They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him!

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul Who seeks Him. It is good that one should Hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord…

Congratulations to my Eliot, my special gift from God Who ordained your birth, knowing that your place in this world was a special one, and you are filling it above and beyond all of my expectations!

I do love you, truly.

Musings of Motherhood Mothers Day 2019

f863d54e6b95bcbd19a8ba3104b90a1bThese are lily of the valley flowers, my favorite flower and also the favorite flower of my mom.

Is that a coincidence, or genetic predisposition, or happenstance? Did mom actively teach me that these flowers were prettiest and most fragrant? Was it because we found them growing wild in the woods by grandma’s house, where I loved taking walks? Recently a Facebook friend said she had no idea what they were when she photographed them. How is that even possible??!

There is a verse In II Timothy that often gets skipped over.  It is glossed over in an attempt to explain and utilize the goodness of chapter 1 verse 7,  ” For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind.” Good verse right there!

However, here are the verses I am thinking of right now, found in chapter 1:3-5  -I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers, night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded, in you also.

It occurs to me that my same questions about my love for the lily of the valley flower can be applied to people in a family~~ Was it coincidence, genetic disposition, or happenstance that Timothy had great and genuine faith, or might it have been a result of the teachings and examples of his mother and her mother before her?

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, we read in Romans 10:17. It would appear that Lois and Eunice were students of Scripture, and Timothy at their knees as a young boy, gained insights into faith through their teachings, and by example.

Mothers on a mission! Mothers with purpose! Mothers with Faith! Before the time of Hallmark, fancy restaurants and the need to find themselves, there appears to be women who took their role of being mothers quite seriously. Enough so, that God chose to include their names in His holy Word. This brings me personally great encouragement!

These photos below, are pictures of my  own women of faith. Marjorie Miller taught me gentleness, kindness, meekness. Dorothea Garcia taught me strength in being a woman, how to be an independent spirit and adaptability. Marjorie Garcia teaches me how to unconditionally love, search God’s Word for knowledge and understanding of Him, and is still leading me to this day in being courageous.


I am super thankful to God and often tell Him so, that I have had positive examples of Motherhood, through my birth family, but also in my spiritual family. I decided to follow and love Jesus when I was 10 years old and have been in churches since then. My prayer always was and will continue to be,  “Lord please place examples in my life of older women who follow YOU “. He has kindly answered my prayers over the years.

Emily Eckelmann, Leah Schanze, Mary Munch, Rachel Crispell, Billie Deen, Roberta Armstrong, Lucia Gueiros Leaman, Tammie Battle, Grace MacRae, Barbara Lockhart, Nan Ruth,  Charlotte Faucette, Jane Cook,  Judith Creamer, Barbara Ropka, Kay Farrar, Marilyn Miles…these women and probably many whose names are no longer in the forefront of my fading memory, have been His answer to my prayer for me.  These were my spiritual mentors, examples in faith who have or are persevering and showing me that my walk of faith is not circumstantial or happenstance, but well taught. Always women a tad older than me (or more), often who do not even know I am watching them, some even realizing their faith now with Jesus, took Motherhood seriously, and I am thankful.

Mother’s Day is a tough one for many. There are freshly grieving children, women who never had birth children, women who had step children who ignored them, women whose pregnancies failed , either through their choices or not, women who had children and didn’t really want them, women who adopted and had to relinquish, women who are disliked by their own children, women who wish someone else was their mother, women who have exhausting experiences of motherhood, even today, women who cannot afford to provide for their own children, women who ignore their own children….the list goes on . I am no more deserving of the gift of motherhood than I was of the gift of salvation. It is a gift. It is also a huge blessing and my heritage is from the hand of God as well.

In the end of II Timothy, chapter 3 Paul continues in the responsibility of women and influence over Timothy’s life as he states in 3:14 ” But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

I guess my musings get me to one place. Women- you are worthy. Women- search the Scripture, lead other women by example, and build your own credibility by following the One Who created all women for His own glory. Be blessed this Mother’s Day, knowing your purpose will be rewarded when God says to you,  “well done my good and faithful servant”, in His kingdom.




Above the Clouds, Me and God

IMG_0300 (2)IMG_0269 (2)

My favorite Bible verse is “For we walk by faith, not by sight”, and I often refer to it mentally as I am faced with life challenges. This has served me well over the 60+ years I have known the Lord God personally , for I asked Jesus Christ to be the Lord of my life when I was young, and HE is Who my faith resides in.

Well, in all honesty since 1975 my struggle has been bigger than I anticipated. Flying-I hate it. There was a single flight that I can attribute this Fear to, and it happened in Brasil when we lived there. We were traveling in a small plane and going to an unknown area(to me), my firstborn son Paul was 4 months old, I did not speak the language of Portuguese yet, and there occurred an impossible thing(so they tell me)~  a thunderstorm with active and terrifying lightning strikes!! Oh my, this young mother nearly died from fright!!

After the Lord got us through safely, and after several more stories for another time, I developed aviophobia. Flying was no longer to be an option for me. Probably not a great way to thank the Lord for safety in travel, but what my mind and body resorted to. I was not to fly again, nor really even look at airplanes overhead, or watch airplanes in movies, until many years later. I turned down a trip to Texas,  the Panama Canal and Italy where my son lived at various times, as an example of how intense this fear was.

That’s the back story to a beautiful story of God’s mercy and grace, and my own walk in faith and growth in grace.

In 2009, my daughter and husband lived in New Mexico, having moved from Washington DC , where I could easily drive my own car by faith to their doorstep. They were determined that I should visit them, so after much prayer and serious internal conversations with God and children, they accompanied me~ one on each side~ to their home in NM, by air. I quivered and quaked but made it, and somehow  returned home alone afterward.

Since that year, I have managed to make the New Mexico trip by air. It sounds so simple when I type it out, but God alone knows how difficult each trip has been and what a battle of faith it continues to be for me, His fearful daughter. I am, you see, one who prefers control. It isn’t said that way- it is sugar coated in polite language, but it boils down to lack of faith. It turns out that my favorite verse was being misinterpreted by me as “when you walk, do it by faith” and was leaving out all other modes of transportation. (which included bus, train and did not exclude other human drivers or situations).

Now it is 2019 and to my shame, the same fear entered into my heart as I anticipated my scheduled trip to visit two sweet grandsons in New Mexico. How could I answer the often asked query, “Are you excited to be going for a visit?”, when I felt sick to my stomach and toyed with ditching the plane tickets and renting a car on credit?! Such was my internal fear, incapable of remembering God’s goodness to me for all my other flight experiences. So, I did what I know to be, from experience and the Word of God, to be the solution. I shared my fear, and sin of faithlessness with my friends, family and almost anyone who asked, so that they would pray. I asked for prayer for more faith for me, and of course, safety, but to me the issue has always been to unashamedly, always trust God, in any and all situations!

The day approached, the nerves started settling down and it became clear to me that a power was at work within me. One which was bigger than my own strength.  I read Psalm 46 in the morning of the flight and took great comfort from verse 1 and 10.

God is my refuge and strength, a very PRESENT help in trouble. Be still and know that I AM GOD. I will be exalted among the nations!

At 40,000 feet in the sir, as the pilot announced that seatbelts had to remain on because turbulence was ahead, I made the decision I may have to make every single time I fly. (This because I am imperfect, still able to sin, and realizing I just do not LIKE flying!) The heart and head had to align and decide ultimately that I was not, never was, and never will be, in control. I can make choices- and I chose, at 40,000 feet, to TRUST God . I chose to BE still and know that God is God and I am not, and whatever the conclusion of the matter, He is my Father and loves me.

Psalm 27:13 and 14 : ” I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait I say, on the Lord.”

IMG_0310 (2).JPG

I exalt the Lord with my whole heart and pray to never forget His goodness to me, day by day, flight by flight.










A Penny in my Thoughts


In the classic childhood story of Henny Penny , Henny was hit on the head and went around declaring that the Sky was Falling! Happily it was all in her head, and she went on to a complete life as an adult chicken, before the fryer caught up with her.

In our case,  our Penny did not fare so well.

Penny was my favorite chicken in the family flock of egg layers plus one- Oliver the rooster. It’s hard to imagine that chickens do not have feelings or emotions, when every day they would recognize my voice and come running (or low flying) when I yelled off the back porch ,     “G-I-R-L-S, come and get it”.    They even know my car, and come dashing down the yard looking for something I might have left over from the car ride. (NO, I do not stop at fast food restaurants and snack, why would you think that?! 🙂 )

SO, when I returned from an errand yesterday to hear the news that a chicken had been killed during the day, my head and heart had to do a separation move. I am a very practical person.

I loved Penny. As she was aging -I think maybe she was 4 years old- she had slowed down, stopped laying eggs, and become more of a homebody. The chickens are usually free range hens, with Oliver standing guard around them. Penny had taken to hanging around under my porch or laying in the sunshine near my door,, so her chance at choice morsels thrown out my door was easier and she beat the other girls to the snacks. Just a couple of days ago, she and I had a talk about how she needed to stay out of trouble and not eat the bugs off the side of my shoe as I soaked up the warm Spring sunshine.

We aren’t sure what got to her- best guess is a mink. Her body was intact, but her neck was open and her kill was fast. It seems a Hawk or Owl would have taken her head , a dog would have scattered her feathers more, a fox or coyote would have taken her away to eat, a weasel would have decimated her body more ~ and a mink had gotten into neighbor chickens awhile ago.

As the story goes….. when my Grandma Garcia was in her prime of life , my memories of her include her full length mink fur coat being worn to more upscale outings.  I used to love the fuzzy warm, smooth fur of it, until it wasn’t cool to like such things, and she passed her fur on to another family member.  (Mink freedom, I suppose…).   Well, now I wish I had her coat and I would wear it everywhere all day long !!  That darn mink.

Do we cry over dead chickens? Probably not.  I felt and still feel really sad, however. Penny kept me company and Louie liked protecting the porch from her visits. I know she was just a chicken, but she was special. Ironically I am currently cooking 2 chicken breasts in order to make chicken pot pie for supper. I know- irony doesn’t begin to cover it! So what should I be crying over? My human emotions do indeed run deep.

I cry over lost souls of people who have rejected Jesus Christ and will some day discover their bad choice. I cry over the people of Mozambique who are currently dealing with devastating flooding; or Nigerian Christians being murdered just because;  I am so sad that  flood waters  are ruining people’s lives and homes in Nebraska; I cry over women aborting babies for convenience sake; I sob when I read of child abuse or the suicide of  a 22 year old shooting survivor. There are so many things to cry over these days, my tear ducts are exhausted!

But for a chicken who met a fast end , by a natural predator? I guess not. It might be a waste of tears, when they are more needed elsewhere. Instead, I am happy that Henny Penny was around these last few years, and that Oliver still crows like a crazy rooster, and Louie is laying nicely beside me , oblivious to the troubles around us.

What I can do is be thankful. I am thanking God, Creator of heaven and earth and all that is within it , for the gift and short term blessings of animals, including Penny~ for all of them!

The Baby Boy of the Family


Honestly, my head is always so full of thoughts, I can barely sort through them. Usually they dart randomly from one child to another, dissecting their lives from afar, wondering about their life choices, recalling the conversations of old, reflecting on good memories and hoping for future ones to emerge.

Today however, I awoke with Joy in my heart, Thanksgiving on my lips, and Hope in my heart, for my baby boy is having a Birthday!! He is 31 years old, and he has been ‘mine’ since the day he was 2 months old. The funny thing about that particular moment in time,  is that I feel like I recall labor and delivery details. There are none for me , but since the 5 (five) births I did experience were various shades of horrific, I am more than happy to give up reality for the sublime and beautiful gift of adoption.

Andy has been a delight from Day 1. His love of animals, laughter, beauty, fashion, music, art, food, family and friends, has made him exceptionally well rounded and dear to all who know him. He is also quite disorganized and spontaneous,  forgetful, messy and almost never on time-to anything. He loves to sleep, loves his dog Cam more than his friends, loves sugar cookies with icing, and works enthusiastically at whatever he is into at the moment. He and I can spend hours talking or go days without a word.

In other words, when God made Andy, He made a boy who belonged , a perfect fit into our crazily unusual family of humans. He was my last child, my baby, the conclusion of motherhood for me, and so with him , every single thing was always mentally thought of by me as “this is the last time…”.

If you are not aware, I have 5 biological children, 3 adopted children and had 4 foster babies~ for awhile. One of my adopted sons, dear Daniel Mark, died at 9 months;  the foster babies moved on to other homes, and my current kid count when asked is 4 daughters, 3 sons and  4 sons -in- law .

February 22 will always be the date that my maternal age increases. Today is the last day I have any children under age 30. Bam. It is finally time to let go of these final threads of thinking I have anything at all to do with my child’s life choices and decisions. That is a sobering, humbling thought for a mom whose life goal had always been centered on her children. I never aspired to anything besides raising a family in the admonition, love and knowledge of the Lord. I truly never imagined life that was post small children, post divorced husband, post midlife madness.

This child centered life goal meant always being a stay-at-home mom for me. It meant reading every book available that held my world view of the Sovereignty and Holiness of God, Who alone could instruct and help me raise these beloved gifts of His. It meant lavishing them with love and discipline simultaneously so that they knew the boundary lines were drawn for their good and God’s glory. It meant thanking Him no matter how difficult the road was that we traveled. It meant learning to thrive on low sleep and high energy. It meant embracing my daily life in faith that God’s future was His business and for my own good. It meant trusting, believing, walking by faith in God Who gave up His only Son to be sacrificed (more than I ever would or could), so that me and mine might freely enjoy Him forever.

Today Andy, my dear and precious baby boy, is another year older, wiser, stronger, and  closer to his own personal life goals. I have nothing to give him but that same love I promised him 31 years ago. I must conclude that my Love is enough, that my prayers for him will be answered, because they are entrusted to my Father God, Who loves His own. It is helpful to live by faith in God, not fear for Andrew, because in faith lies much peace.

For He Who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for me, He can be trusted.

Happy Birthday to my baby. Happy Birthday to the man you are becoming. Thank you God, for motherhood finished, for peace in the midst of troubles, for helping me sort out my brain. I love you Lord, and I lift my voice, to worship You-Oh my soul! Rejoice!!


Thanksgiving 2018 ~ A day to remember.


What a day September 22, 2018 was for our family, but especially the branch of the Julie and Ethan tree.  Marriage!  There are not bigger moments in the life of a young woman than Birth and Marriage. Julie had experienced both and I knew it would take someone very special to secure my independent, uniquely created and designed baby girl’s hand in marriage. He had to be someone to whom she could entrust not only her heart, but her son’s growing being to~ safely and with confidence. He had to be secure in his own identity, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and handsome wouldn’t hurt. He should probably be someone she respected for the long haul, or the flame would be doused by the burdens of daily living. His family background got an A+ from my observations from afar, when I heard they were ‘normal’  had been married ‘forever’ and  were ‘super close’.

When an adult child chooses marriage, as in all other things, one’s maternal yearnings to instruct take a backseat to instincts, and my instincts were positive! I finally met Ron, at least once before the nuptials were announced, and found him to be checking off every box on my ‘perfect mate for J list’, not the least of which was love my daughter well. Added to that formula was much prayer to God , Whom I knew to be faithful and compassionate and kind, and to Whom I had entrusted the care of this baby girl ever since her birth, so many years ago!

Now the wedding itself was not without prayer back up for me! I had not seen or been in the same space as my husband-aka-the father of the Bride- for 17 years. I was nervous and anxiety threatened to ruin this beautiful event for me personally. So I did what any God fearing woman would do- begged my girlfriends for prayer support, and looked to my elder’s wife friend for a pep talk, then I reminded myself that the wedding was not about me and my emotions, but about my baby girl and her happiness. Perfect peace? Not totally since I must always be honest, but perfectly calm and no impending storm on the horizon of happiness. 🙂

me and jules2486

If you can believe my mind, this blog post is about Thanksgiving 2018. See how my mind wanders and takes rabbit trails before it settles into the main thought? Imagine my world – I have to live with it!

If you are a parent that gives gifts to your children, or perhaps a person who has ever received a thank you note from anyone for something , read on.

When you are thanked for something given, do you want a description back on  what that gift was, or the ways it was used, or the importance of the gift in your life,? OR,  would you rather have the thank you note include reasons the person appreciates who you are, how you impact their life and how significant they make you feel? I thought so. Me too.

God has given me so much throughout my life. He gave me seven children to raise, sometimes with a father present, sometimes not, but always with Himself present. I thank Him for them this Thanksgiving, but there  is more.

all 7

God has been my Creator, provider God, who loves my children more than I can think or imagine. Am I more thankful for these beautiful people He loaned me for a time, or am I more thankful for His generosity, guidance, help and provision over the years?  How about last year when circumstances came along, beyond my control, that felt out of my control?   The wedding was a gift worthy of thanks. Yet, again God was with me, answering the prayers of my heart and His people who prayed when I felt too weak, too vulnerable, too frightened. I’m thanking Him this Thanksgiving for who He is ~ my Shepherd (I am His sheep), my Savior (I am His child) my  Counselor (I am His one who often needs counsel and help), my Fortress (I often am hiding in Him), my Protector, (from so many emotional attacks), my Shield (always guarding my heart from harm), my Provider (always beyond what I need and often what I most want), my GOD (in whom is found everything else of value)! Yes, Thanksgiving needs to be so much more than the gifts HE gives me, for me…it needs to be thankfulness from the depths of my being for His Being . Thanks be to God!

The wedding was wonderful. The crises averted. The gifts plentiful. The new son already loved and appreciated. The Julie and Ethan tree has a solid trunk added on in Ron.

ron mom hug

Joel 2:25 says: So I will restore to you the years the swarming locusts have eaten…you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord your God  who has dealt wondrously with you, and my people shall never be put to shame.

I am so thankful this year for more restoration and I praise His name. Amen and Amen.

The Winter


It’s Sunday morning, from Albuquerque , New Mexico, and the rain has been hitting the roof of my casita all night long. I actually do prefer snow to rain, but since I am not the Creator nor in any way controlling the weather, it rains.

Two Sundays ago I decided to blog every Sunday , but last week I flew from Perkiomenville , on the East coast, to Albuquerque in the Southwest, and was otherwise occupied with grandsons and burritos, so sorry. The funny thing here is I am pretending I am writing to people who are reading this, when in fact, I highly doubt that I am, so it’s easier to be normal when you just put your thoughts down with no repercussions. 🙂

My mind is a scary place and deciding what to talk about is an act of grace. I am praying for the words I say and meditations of my heart to be acceptable in Gods sight, for His love and grace to me has carried me many years and through many seasons of my own life.  I decided to write about my mom while she is still among the living. If I wait until she is dead, or into her eternal life and home, I would get all sappy and maudlin rather than say what I want to.

Notice the big cottonwood trees I photographed last week? Aren’t they majestic and gorgeous? I last saw them along the Bosque at the Rio Grande River in Spring. They were equally beautiful, just different, adorned with leaves that crackled as the occasional wind drifted through them. One of these massive trees held my very first sighting of a large grey owl, and I still thank God for that moment when he swooped by me to nest in the limbs above! That tree had a purpose, other than just being beautiful, a grand and noble reason for existence.



Well, as the story goes, then comes summer when I have never been to New Mexico. I am fairly certain, however, that in the 100* heat with blazing sunshine, one would relish the opportunity to sit under the shade of this mature cottonwood tree, soaking up the coolness of the shade it provides. It just needs to BE and it has a way of bringing comfort and relief to the ones seeking it.

Autumn was the best season for me personally to visit here and observe the aspens and cottonwoods and the varied vegetation around the Southwest. I  felt like the trees not only sheltered me from the lingering sun, but also gave a beautiful backdrop to everything else happening in the Bosque and mountainous regions. The leaves were turning to yellows and browns, which in no way diminished their beauty, but in fact made them more stately.


Seriously, these aspens flapping in the breeze is the most fun sound!! Kind of like they are whispering to each other.

So, there we have it, back to winter in New Mexico and my promise of writing about my mother. Now do you see why I have trouble focusing my mind? I honestly began this morning with thoughts of mom, who turns a glorious 86 tomorrow, and is often battling with feeling unnecessary and outdated. I didn’t want to compare my own mom to a tree, but what can I say? It applies!

Mom, or Maude as I often call her when I feel Mom doesn’t quite work. No, it isn’t her name, just one of those names I stuck on her a long time ago, and it remains . Her full name is Marjorie, usually Peg,  sometimes Marge,and she hates Peggy unless it was dad calling her Peggy Sue. Her mom before her was Marjorie, they called her Margie, and I named my second daughter after them both-Margie. whew.

Mom was a beauty when she was younger, knocking the boys off their feet, I hear, causing my dad to fall head over heels while still in high school. They married while still teens and had me shortly thereafter, followed by 3 more girls and their beloved , longed for son. Mom was ignorant of the ways of raising children , so used her very capable brain to guide us all through the Springtime of her life and our childhood. No play dates back in that day, nor internet , or social media to tell you how to raise Susie. She just tapped into her mother’s wisdom and experience, who happened to be in her Summer, Fall years.

Somehow, by God’s grace, we were raised and I never doubted her love for me or her wisdom in her choices. She was Mom. As the kids left home, her role changed and she just was there for us as we entered our adulthood.

Sometimes in the walks I take,  I like crooked , gnarly trees as much as the tall , straight ones, and that was my Mom experience. She wasn’t perfect, but perfect for me. She annoyed me from time to time, but I am pretty sure I annoyed her too. She just faithfully stood her ground, giving wisdom as requested, usually in the form of cooking tips, housekeeping ideas or instructions on how to get dinner all on the table and Hot while chasing many children(I had 7, she had 5) around the kitchen.

Then Maude entered the Fall of her life, accompanying dad on lots of trips around to see grandchildren and vacation spots while he was alive, and then by herself  when he died. She boarded planes and flew to Florida, New Mexico, New York and then on to Italy and Europe. She drove hundreds of miles alone to see grandkids, or sewed  quilts for college grads, and bibs for babies, all the while canning dilly beans for a grandchild, while searching for a perfect recipe for a new Christmas cookie to send. Mom decided she needed a laptop, since the world kept spinning and she wanted to stay on it, so now she emails and prefers it to texting, but does not like that nobody mails thank you notes anymore. (I agree on that, so guess I am entered into the Fall of my life too 🙂 )

Then comes Winter. It can be hard on trees, knocking some over and bending others, causing branches to fall off, and birds to need other places to nest. It can be harsh or mild, who is to decide? Oh, the Creator knows what’s best. Winter can be discouraging in it’s lengthiness and purposeless feelings. It can cause depression or slippery ice to fall on, it can bring chill to the bones and brokenness to the tree branches.






The end of my tribute to my Mom isn’t magical and profound. It’s just making me pause and realize how much I love her uniqueness(just like the trees , don’t you see?) and her strength and value. She has raised me, sheltered me, taught me and been someone who showed me many paths to follow, mainly the path of loving God through all the ‘stuff’. I guess as I contemplate her NOT being here,  one  of my main concerns is who else really will care when I burn the pasta or cry over the latest book I read, or am troubled by my children’s choices in life or need to gripe?  I am ever so thankful to know God cares, but I am equally as thankful He gave me Maude to season my life well.  Happy 86th Mom!

PS. I was wondering why I had to inherit the bad back ache instead of the ability to sew?



2017 Begins, shall we start again?


ready for the wind

Happy New Year!

It is becoming apparent to me that life is quite similar to the dandelion I pictured above. POOF! A strong gust of wind will scatter those little seedlings all over the place. Not too long ago, it was bright and yellow and cheerful in appearance. Prior to that it was sprouting up with nary a care in the world.

Now look~ it is about ready to blow away, leaving only its influence  and perhaps new growth where it lands.  I wonder if it knows the power it contains in its ability to influence future lawns? All of those homeowners who cringe at it sprouting up in the Spring on their pristine green lawn. They will dash out and purchase all sorts of sprays and potions, in an attempt to remove it.

I am the dandelion. I used to be vibrant and bright, so ready to take on any homeowner or lawn care expert, pushing through whatever came at me, strong and sometimes aggressive in my growth into my prime.

As the years blow by I am watching with incredulity, amazed when young people card me they are asking for my AARP card, rather than my ID! What? I LOOK old? My bright yellow has seemingly changed into a faded gray, the hairs on my head numbering fewer and being less cooperative with my notion of a style.

My choice is clear. Resist or Embrace. Denial is not in my blood. Subtlety is for Southerners, not a Northern gal such as myself. I am getting old, and I need to influence for good anything that I leave behind.

Thus I will blog.

What started me thinking this way was that it has been suggested more than once that I write  a  Blog. Once I considered a Blog post a day . How about a photo a day? Wouldn’t a ‘wise older woman word a day be an important legacy? Sure, until I ran out of wisdom by January 31st!

Just so you know, I wanted to go watch a movie on Netflix, but made myself face the next challenge I threw at myself. Not a resolution, for I am not resolved over anything except Christ crucified for me, (no , seriously) but determined to go forth! Let the winds of time and aging throw their best punches! I will be vocal and wise, mixed with Godly and good. I will not take on politics. There is no religion for me, there is merely my relationship with God, through Christ Jesus. He loves me, therefore I am.

We must have photos. Birds will fly into this Blog often, as will occasional maternal moments and Grammy gratitude. Usually , however, I will just try to be me as God made me and is working on me. Thanks if you read, I won’t know if you don’t! 🙂 [ I amuse myself. :-)]

Shall I write every Sunday? OK. Except next Sunday I am flying to New Mexico, but I’ll try to chat.