Kinfolk, Kissin Cousins, and Cowpies

The Aunt Ruth Reunion, as we call it, is written on the calendar for the last Saturday of every August, and woe to family members who neglect to observe it.

“You know, we’re getting too old to organize this event. It’s time to pass it on to the young-uns.”

Your absence may be noted over Thanksgiving dinner but if enough pie sits on the sideboard, it will be forgiven. Skipping out in August however, implies you have not made the effort to sit in the shade with Aunt Ruth and Uncle George with a glass of iced tea and chat about everyone else who didn’t make it.

goblet

“These goblets came from Alabama. I stopped to see a house I used to visit as a child, and they had turned it into an antique shop, and there they were, just like the ones my grandmother used.”

Aunt Ruth, bless her heart, understands that life can get busy and will include you in her prayers later tonight, but the rest of us – those who brought potato salad and cold chicken and frisbees and teenagers – will wonder just what has become of our family tree. The paperwork says we branch out in many-splendored directions, but it felt just a little like a bonsai yesterday.

We were such a small bunch that we elected to visit our elderly kinfolk right in their home, instead of Mission Bay where we usually meet. It saved on the hauling of tables, chairs, potluck food, coolers, water toys, towels, and other flotsam.

“When I was a child, our reunions were held in the pasture. Cousins were stationed all along tables covered in cloths, and as the food came out, they kept the flies moving with flyswatters. You wanted to watch your step out there.”

We laid out the food in her tiny kitchen and sat on the back patio, surrounded by her thriving gardens and plants, trees and flowers. She has a green thumb.

“Well, I can’t wear green. It’s not my color I guess. But if I set my pots to soak overnight in Miracle Grow, they just wake up in the morning so sassy! Be sure and take some figs home with you, the tree is full.”

Their living room is filled with a baby grand player piano, carved wooden trains, doll collections, and blue and rose colored quilt squares.

“The fabric was just going to waste. Someone may as well get some use of it.”

Over the years, I have pieced bits of her life together. I know how she met George one fateful day when he walked into her office.

“I decided I was going to get that man to ask me out, so the next day, I wore a swishy skirt and just walked right on past him. He got the message.”

We all celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the Bali Hai, where her words of wisdom inspired me to stop playing in jello. This December, they will have their 65th.

“What will I do?” she says with a giggle, “Why, sit on his lap and thank God for living this long!”

Aunt Ruth has four children (“and we lost one early on, you know”), eight grandchildren, a dozen great-grandchildren, and nieces and nephews and little children off the street in all directions and can tell you how they were doing last she spoke with them, and she just loves them dearly and blames her two knee replacements on a lifetime of praying her loved ones home.

She sends hand-written Christmas cards.

“Every time I see your daddy, he’s just this sweet little three-year-old boy in curls and I thought to myself, this family makes the cutest kids, I just have to marry into it!”

My two teenage boys got a history lesson that ranged from the depression to the murky future. They listened to their grandfather tell stories of his own father who was a plasterer.

“You can’t use that word,” interjects Aunt Ruth, “You’ll have to say he worked his donkey off.”

From there, the conversation heads backwards, covering family members in ever-widening generational rings, the good, the bad, the ugly and the interesting. Uncle George fills in.

“Now, there was a sweet lady. She always tucked a penny into a handkerchief and sent it home in my pocket, but my dad never let me go buy candy with it.”

First homes, first cars, high school sports and donut runs. Some things are very familiar to my boys and some things are a riddle. Everyone contributes a memory.

“After the depression, he never trusted another bank. He would fold up bills and tuck them into the armrests of his car or under the hood. We found a wire sticking up from the dash once and pulled up more money.”

“After a while, I started asking questions. Turns out he was a shady character. The more I got curious, the more I found out what he was hiding, and I quit. He disappeared into Mexico and I never saw him again.”

“When I found out I had a brother, I was so excited to meet him…but he didn’t really want to meet me. He wouldn’t answer questions I had or help me learn about the rest of our family.”

Aunt Ruth straightens in her chair.

“Let’s just let those poor people go. That’s why we started this reunion in the first place, because people just don’t know who their family is anymore. There’s something there that shouldn’t ought to be. I wasn’t brought up that way. If kinfolks are coming to see you, it’s a reason to celebrate! I’m going to do the right thing, no matter what anybody else is gonna do. Now, we have a lot of family missing today that I would dearly love to see, but they won’t be seen. They’re out doing what blows their hair back, I guess. But I’m just going to sit here and love ‘em all the same.”

My little life agenda blows away on the San Diego breeze, as strong deep Alabama roots intertwine with those from Minnesota and tunnel all the way to the Pacific. The saplings sit beneath mature established old-growth, harvesting the wisdom of experience. Whispered truths from the overhead canopy drift down, telling the past and seeing far into the future, undisturbed by the rustling on the forest floor.

“Everyone eat up,” interrupts Aunt Ruth, “the pudding’s going begging.”

Aunt Ruth

Alabama Banana Pudding in the Pasture

bring 3 eggs to room temperature, then separate
melt 1/2 C cornstarch in 1/2 C milk
in a saucepan, beat 3 yolks w/ fork
beat in 1/4 tsp salt
beat in cornstarch mixture
beat in 1/2 c sugar
add at least 4 cups milk until “just right”

over low stovetop heat, stir mixture constantly w/wooden spoon until it thickens
keep the mix below a boil; it’s thick enough if bubbles start up
stir in 1 tsp vanilla
remove from heat, put a lid on to prevent a skin, let custard cool

in a glass baking dish, layer custard, vanilla wafers, and banana slices until used up

in a clean, dry bowl whip 3 egg whites with a shake of salt
slowly add at least 1/3 c sugar while whipping, until melted in
once it’s setting, add 1/2 tsp vanilla

spread meringue over top of pudding

place in a pre-heated 325* oven until top turns slightly golden

(don’t let stay too long or you’ll cook/heat your bananas)
let cool enough to set on a table in a pasture

It’s best served room temperature. Yummy!

What Do Writers Read?

“The First 20 Hours, How to Learn Anything…Fast” by Josh Kaufman.

It should be titled, “The First 20 Hours, How to Discover if You Have Discipline”.

It may or may not have played into last Friday’s blog.

I love to read and I’m sad to report that I haven’t read a fiction novel in a very long time for fear of sailing off into the sunset with it, returning to reality only when I smell dinner burning and I’ve forgotten a child at school.

Because, discipline.

Instead, I find books at random and read them in tiny snatches like magazines, hoping something sticks. I have a book-stack that never seems to shrink.

My girlfriends have been trying for months to hook me up with podcasts and audiobooks and websites but that involves sitting down and holding still and, um, remembering there are such things in the world.

I finally finished Mr Kaufman’s book. He acquired six new skills over a year, devoting 20 hours to working each one out and when he reached his goal, he moved on.

The only thing I devoted 20 hours to was reading the book, looking for his secret. It was well hidden on the very last page: “If you want to acquire a new skill, you have to practice. There is no other way.”

Consistent, focused, deliberate practice. Well, why didn’t he say so in the first place?

I should have grabbed the book next to it by Gretchen Reynolds, “The First 20 Minutes”.

I’m out.

Let’s read the next book in the pile: “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown.

I enjoyed her “Daring Greatly” because it encouraged me to be braver with my blog. Her new one seems to be about the process of getting back up when you fall on your face.

Huzzah! I face plant all the time, thanks to discipline!

I’m halfway through the chapters and she blows the old “victim mentality” right out of the water with compassion and some common sense healthy attitudes.

I’m suspicious that practice and discipline are in there somewhere, but it will be messy and thoughtful with neither straight lines nor deadlines, and a lot of telling stories on herself. I love it.

Earlier this year, before I read about yoga and tellifin and websites and comedy and a curry recipe, I read Jen Hatmaker’s “For the Love”.

Her front porch philosophy and her thoughts on five kids and the way she sees all kinds of sides on a coin had me laughing hysterically now and then and staring thoughtfully into space now and then, and this one has the honor of sitting on my shelf permanently for long-term use.

I read “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and it was so-so and then I read Twyla Tharp’s “The Creative Habit” which was pretty solid, and Gary Klein’s “Seeing What Others Don’t” about the world of insight, and something that wraps up the nuts on my family tree in gold foil, “Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson.

Obviously, I’m a big fan of literacy.

Today, we celebrate it with a website and a bookshelf, and probably a little Kipling on the side.

I found a website called goodreads.com that looks like fun.

So far as I can figure out, you tell it what you’ve already read and rate how much you liked it, and it recommends new books to you, from zombies to zinnias.

And then you take the list down to the library and check them out with a good old fashioned library card, right? To each her own, girlfriend, I have to fondle the pages.

Therefore, I’ve always been intrigued by something called “Little Free Library” which puts book-stacks curbside for the express purpose of book swapping. It’s a take a book/leave a book honor system that promotes reading and community. What a great idea.

As I have no carpentry skills, this weekend I’ll be building a little bookshelf right here on the blog; a place to leave your favorites for others to find…all over the world.

I’m painting it many shades of green.

What have you read this year that you really enjoyed, and why?

What was worth burning dinner for? Staying up until 2am for? Making three pots of tea for?

Stack your good reads down in the comment box.

You might want to set a timer on the oven.

Well, Rats

Monday morning we woke up and discovered that we had been victims of a home invasion robbery.

Foolishly, we had left the back door open to the night breezes and everyone knows that a flimsy screen door doesn’t stand in the way of a determined burglar.

The door opens onto a balcony. Only scaling the walls to the second floor will put you a position to know whether the door was actually open. We thought we were safe.

Afterward, my daughter spoke up and remembered that she had seen a movement from the corner of her eye two days prior, a quick shadow in the evening gloom, hanging around our garage and disappearing when she turned to get a better look.

He was casing the joint. Waiting for his moment. Admiring the goodies he imagined were inside.

The dirty rat broke into our home in the wee hours on Monday and took his time wandering around, deciding what he wanted.

I shudder to think we were all deep asleep and heard nothing. What if our bedroom doors had been open? What if we had heard footsteps and gone to investigate? I can only promise you one thing for sure: I would have taken one look and run into the streets shrieking. To my shame, I would have left my family in the house asleep and hailed a cab in my onesie, headed for anywhere else.

I’m helpful like that.

Instead, I staggered into the kitchen seeking my morning revival and saw the destruction left in this guy’s wake. He obviously took a joy ride through the place, leaving a trail of rat scat that was impressive, if marking your territory is what rats do. There were big, fat rat droppings everywhere, and puddles that glistened in the early light.

I did an about-face and shrieked for the Hubby. Bad enough I had valiantly fought the ants all summer, now we had rodents. Maybe roaches are next. We did find that scorpion once. And termites are common here.

Best to burn the house down and start over with a concrete tilt-up and a gallon of caulk.

What’s the world coming to when you risk dying of plague to relax in your own house?

My sweet Hubbs went into the kitchen while I showered even the thought of rats off of me, and he covered everything in sight with Lysol. All of it. To soak. The droppings got fatter.

He threw away the food that was on the countertops and wiped most of the rat bits from crevices and told the kids that making peanut butter sandwiches for school was totally doable on our new, clean sofa. Probably. Then they all left.

I threw everything made of fabric and all of the laundry into the washing machine on the hot wash/extra rinse cycle, and pushed the go button. Shrink if they must, but I’m not carrying leptospirosis into the gym on my spandex and starting a pandemic.

There was no police report I could file. I had no witnesses, no suspect in cuffs, no video surveillance, and our alarm system hadn’t been activated that night. Certainly not at three inches above floor level.

What if the rat was still in the house? What if he was hiding under the washing machine waiting to jump me with his sharp little incisors and scratchy scrambly claws when no one was around to save me?

The thought kept me motivated. You’ve never seen such discipline.

I poured a gallon of Lysol and an ounce of water into the mop bucket and shined every bit of floor. The ants were very confused. I considered washing down the walls and ceiling. If the ants can get there, maybe a rat can? Then I remembered the painters would be painting all of it. I could slip some bleach into the paint cans, easy.

Then I power washed the front porch, the back porch, the walls, windows, doors, and doubled the chlorine the pool, in case the burglar had gone for a casual night swim.

I’ll have to look into a brute squad.

If the police can’t help me, I have the right to bear arms myself.

When we visited the shelter three weeks ago, I looked around for an anteater, which is definitely my first choice of pet, but they stock cats and dogs mostly. They did have a horse outside.

And a cage in the lobby.

With a rat in it named Ginger.

Olympics in the Bouncy Castle

Olympic athletes are showing the world what it takes to put on big girl panties and bring home the gold. They are excellent examples of dedication, determination, sportsmanship, and deception.

Feel free to pull your inspiration where you find it.

I sit in the LazyBoy with a fist full of nachos and I’m almost inspired to run some hurdles right here over the brand new sofa. And then lie about it.

Instead, I spent the last couple of weeks rolling around in self-doubt, apprehension, and vacillation, waging a war against procrastination that greater genius’ than I have succumbed to. I needed to blog, and every atom of my being was refusing to do it.

Wallowing in pity for my motivationally challenged self, I took a long hard look at Rio and found the missing link to my success.

Discipline.

Disciplined athletes will be on the ice with a puck between their teeth at 4am every day for years to get the job done. Some authors couldn’t sit down to write until after 10pm and typed during the graveyard shift.

They just choose a time and show up. How hard can it be?

So three weeks ago, I dusted off my alarm clock. I’ve been waking up every day at 6am, trying to find a routine that will put me in my writing place and let me tell you, it’s an utter failure.

Discipline at 6am looked like this: me, drinking mug after mug of hot tea trying to wake up until it was suddenly time to go to my day job. Making tea takes hours if I wake up at 6am, and three and one half minutes if I wake up at 8am.

Do the math.

So I tried sitting up at 11pm the night before a deadline. My entire body screamed for my memory foam mattress while waiting for brilliance to appear on the page. Nope. Brain dead.

I tossed the alarm clock and made dream boards, surrounding myself with success stories.

They taunt me as I stare at the empty page.

Janet E. looks down her nose and says, “I have discipline and the books to prove it. Just what are you frittering away at, there?”

“Don’t quit your day job,” she suggests, before fading into the wall.

Maybe I need some real live writers in my life instead. At least I can’t make up their commentary.

There is a guy I’m thinking of. A retired police detective lieutenant ex-Marine, to be exact.

He’s published his second crime novel and submitted a third, working full time and getting up at 4am every day to write. I met him briefly at an author interview and the man is just oozing with discipline.

I almost reached out and contacted him, but trepidation saved the day.

I can just see it.

You meet for coffee and automatically sit up straight and chew with your mouth closed. Black coffee. Gluten free bran muffins. Hard metal chair.

Next to his writing that drips with murder, mystery and intrigue, my blog looks like little pink dandelion fluffs.

His protagonists are sharp, driven and living on the edge of danger and my subjects skip down the yellow brick road wondering why the sky is blue, and not really concerned about it either way. For all she knows, the sky is purple and wouldn’t that be fabulous?

“What is your genre?” he’ll ask, and his eyes imply that you are not only under oath, but attached to a lie detector machine.

“Okay, well, my blog is mostly humor,” I begin, but his face hasn’t cracked a smile since….so I continue, “but it goes into family and homemaking a little, too, and travel. And relationships occasionally.” It occurs to me that even my genre has no discipline.

I’m screwed.

“I’m writing a book too,” I mention, in an effort to validate myself as a writer, “it’s a Christian novel.” Should I throw in some dark angst and a little violent goat discrimination so he’ll take it seriously?

“And another one, that is a chick flick-type comedy.” The man waits, sniper calm, for the mist to clear and reveal some bedrock.

“And there’s one I’ve worked on for years but includes family members that have to actually die before I can publish it, so it’s on the shelf so to speak.” Ugh.

I’m jumping between projects like my closet is one big bouncy castle at a birthday party that I ate way too much sugar at.

When I signed up to join the gym all those years ago, I told the trainer, “I’m not here for the discipline, the final results, the number on the scale, or the competition. I’m here for the fun of it. When I stop having fun, I’ll stop coming.”

I bounced around that gym and ate cake and had a grand time.

Like Mr. Olympics trainer, Mr. Crime Novel is going to throw up his hands and walk away.

Frankly, the only way I’m going to get discipline is accidentally.

I will sit down when I feel like it and have a grand time playing with words and maybe, some day, I will have writer friends who want to join me in the bouncy castle.

 

Party Like It’s 1986

I haven’t had a hangover this bad since the August I had a newborn, a toddler, and a kindergartner start school.

There comes a time when you know you’ve gone around the bend and maybe you should admit it.

It’s the first step.

My 30th high school reunion was Saturday night and it was fabulous.

It was, I am compelled to publish, a better turn-out than Hubby’s was, three weeks ago.

Yes, we graduated the same year on the same day at the same time from rival high schools and I am also compelled to explain that his was the one on the wrong side of the tracks, I don’t care what was yelled by a certain young lady wearing face paint and a pompon on her head and throwing all dignity to the wind, screamed herself silly over a football game that she never bothered learning the rules to.

My brain only has so much space in it.

Football games were for showing up with your girlfriends and letting the other side know how badly they were about to lose. Even if we lost, we had to insist we won. All about that attitude, baby.

The reunion was on point.

I showed up, jumped into a pile of girlfriends and turned up the volume.

The face paint is slightly more mature, but as you can see from the photos, I still have a pompon on my head.

Something I noticed that all future reunion organizers might want to write down:

  1. By the 30th reunion, people are flying in from all over the world to attend.
  2. They are fighting jet lag just to see their bestie from second grade.
  3. Skip the dance floor.

Both reunions tried, and I was one of six girls up there attempting to lure the party into the multi-colored strobe-lit, Van Halen pumping, fog machine mood-enhancing, MTV 80s love fest.

Perhaps everyone already has this at home. I should’ve asked.

The poor DJ was killing herself trying to earn her paycheck and the crowds would have none of it. She pumped up the volume, she pulled out classics and party tunes, she drove them up against the back wall of the building and out the door as they desperately tried to hear each other talk about little Timmy.

If only the DJ had taken the hint and dropped the beat, literally, so we could hear ourselves think.

I lost my voice and my hearing, which is always a good day-after football game sign, it means you took it seriously. But the headache is from drinking the wine poured under the table by my lawyer girlfriend who smuggled it in in a big fancy purse because open bars are for sissies.

The part where I’m staggering around is from doing the Electric Slide in high heels that should never, under any circumstances, slide.

I’m squinting because the daylight in SoCal in August does not take pity on a morning-after face that’s not be used to photo-boothing until all hours. I need a nap.

I’m pretty sure I made some new wrinkles, and I hope I made some new friends.

It’s hard to tell. Like my face, it’s a bit of a blur.

Hubby knew more people there than I did and seems to have no side effects from partying with his rival high school gang.

I’ll have to fix that.

Cats and Colors and Complete Confusion

Just let me sit down for a minute. I can explain. Sort of.

I’ve been trying to pick a paint color for the walls of my house and I can tell you it’s harder than deciding what to name a baby. I might just pour them all into a bucket and swish.

My walls are starting to look like a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper:

The colors look great on the flippy cards, even the raspberry one (Wazzup), because I’m reading their little printed names in the corner. How can you not choose Folding Chair, Sanskrit, or Oracle?

I almost don’t care what it looks like on a vaulted ceiling if I can tell my stunned guests, “That? Oh, that one is Mosquito Pass. We thought it was fitting. Here’s your mesh hat.The baseboards are a lovely shade of Serpent.”

At some point, those poor painter humans decided to pour words into a bucket and swish because there are colors called, so help me, In Between and Sample Pot.

Completely uninspiring.

I had to walk away for a while because I had the opportunity to assist in a humanitarian effort involving my sister-in-law, pheromones, and cardboard boxes with little holes in them.

She wanted to bust a cat out of the humane society and needed a wingman. That’s me.

The ladies in my life are blessed with an intuition that evades me and watching her walk into the Kitty Corral and choose a lifetime companion was like watching a magic trick.

How did she do that?

The room was full of cats and they all needed furr-ever homes, so my instincts said, “Take any of them home, of course! You can’t mess this up, it’s a good deed.”

A sweet little gray cat immediately began purring up against my legs. She snuggled my hand when I reached down to pet her and began following my sister around the room, trying to catch her eye.

“Paint the walls any color, of course. You can’t mess this up, anything will be an upgrade from what I’m staring at.”

But my sister already had a cat in mind. Her feline of choice was asleep in a cardboard condo, and flat out refused come out to say hello.

“I’ll take him,” she told the lady.

“A million paint colors. They all look the same. Two thousand shades of white. I’ll take this one.”

She circled the cat room again and discovered that her cat of choice had a sister. The girl cat was hiding in a cat tree. When the employee hauled her out and placed her in my sister’s arms, the cat made it very clear that not only was holding an unacceptable form of interaction, but that my sister was the last person on earth that it wanted to go home with. Ever.

It leapt onto a windowsill and scrambled frantically back into the hidey-hole.

“I don’t understand. It says white on the label. Why does it look yellow on the trim? This one isn’t brown, it’s peach. Didn’t the cute little pinterest website glorify this gray? Why is it screaming ‘purple’ at me? Why?

In the meantime, sweet little gray cat was tap-dancing, juggling catnip, and generally rolling around begging my sister to choose it.

“Okay, this is obviously the right one, let’s paint the walls in Riviera Beach.”

My sister turned to the employee, “I’ll take the sister cat, too, she’s a sweetheart.”

She saw the appalled look on my face.

“I knew it the minute I held her,” she insisted, “I could just tell.”

“Hm. Well, it looked great in the hall. Not so much in the living room. Maybe we will grow to love it. Maybe if we put enough art and furniture around it, we’ll get used to it being in the house.”

Darned if I don’t keep bringing home the wrong cat. Er, color.

I held this many paint pots:

They all tried frantically to escape my walls.

Why? Why can’t I ‘just tell’?

Meanwhile, my sister is settling in with two beautiful cats who adore her now.

They are named “Boy” and “Lola”.

So help me.

When You Can’t Go to the Mountain

I was supposed to be in Idyllwild today.

All week, actually.

Every year for a million years, even before we were married, Hubby and I were attending the Bible School up there in July.

Most of the fam is up there right now, and I can tell you – without any peeking online whatsoever – what their cabins look like and where they sat in the dining hall and exactly how they will saunter from the general assembly in a half hour from now and head over to Gilboa hall for classes.

The visions of those “left behind” at the rapture and those cast onto a desert island (or a ferry dock) as the party boat sails away without them and others who have walked into the ice cream shop only to discover that their favorite flavor was sold out only moments before…are nothing quite this startling.

Alas, unlike stay-at-home moms, humble servants of the public can’t gallop off into the woods at will.

It’s different.

And so, I sit at the keyboard wondering how, in the first time since never, you bring the mountain to yourself, instead.

The atmosphere there is crisp in the morning, as you sip coffee and the pines streak early sunshine from Tahquitz. So I sat on my deck and sipped tea and admired the sun streaks in our oaks.

The rabbits look the same.

Then they do the daily readings and I’d make a note here or there for pondering later and after announcements, we’d all settle in for morning classes.

So I read this morning, enjoying years of notes, laughing at my twenty-year-old so very naive ones, and follow them along as they grew in understanding, things erased and clarified and re-connected into the bigger fabric of this message of life and love and redemptive glory.

I play in my treasure chest a while and humming, rise to put my house in order for the day.

This God we worship, He is here.

He is there, too.

He is wherever you stand, sharing this moment with me; there is nowhere that He is not.

The difference then, might be the putting aside of everything in order to spiritually feast.

It’s arranging your life in order to leave it, to wander a mountaintop with a huge family reunion, and just breathe Him in.

It’s a deliberate focus.

Up the mountain and down the mountain is like comparing Thanksgiving to plain old dinner.

The yearly gathering ends with a deep satisfaction, tempered with sadness that it’s over.

But – big surprise – my kids are still hungry the next day. For that kind of effort, it should feed us for at least half a year, right? Nope.

We pray for our “daily bread”.

We ask, standing next to Daniel who would never see his mountain again, for just bread and water. For enough.

“Whether I am on the Mountain or at the office, I have learned in whatsoever state I am to be content,” says paraphrased Paul.

So I think, as the party boat sails away, that being on a desert island once in a while can have it’s benefits, if only to prove that the humble daily dinner can become a feast with proper intentions.

Two things occur to me.

  1. There is more food available than a king’s table could hold, right here on the empty beach.
  2. I am not alone.

When you take the thing you wanted, the thing that was outside of you, that you could see and touch and want, and put the thing inside of you, you become the thing.

Are you what you eat? Education and opinions and disciplines and whatever it is that you decided was worth swallowing are continually changing the landscape of who you are.

His days are full of every element of Thanksgiving, should we choose to act like it.

This week can hold every element of the Mountain, should I choose to act like it.

It’s a deliberate focus in much smaller bites.

So I will connect with others that feel “left behind” and remind them that we are, indeed, also part of the Mountain, wherever we stand right now.

I will have meals with them and we will admire the gifts in our treasure chests and skip the elaborate planning and leave satisfied. Sufficient for the day.

The party boat is inside of me.

The Mountain is inside of me.

I will deliberately make space for study and I will deliberately make space for family reunion and I will deliberately make space for holding still and just breathing Him in.

Here.

Today.

And I am grateful.

Idyllwild Pines