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Last day, first post


Captain’s Log, Day 9:Lord, bubby. Re-entry to reality. Paradise lost. My Brigadoon enchantment broken. 

Phil, Brad, and I departed Telluride at noon yesterday for the 1,500 mile expedition home in the RV. After driving all night (I slept), we disembarked the Winnebago at 7:15 am for diesel when a helpful gent informed Admiral Phil that wires were dragging the ground under the motorcycle trailer and the tail lights were out. Hence, a two hour stop over in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Groovy. I immediately began to hack from humidity induced throat congestion.

After deliberating with a little meth mouth mechanic, we crossed a bustling four lane to the friendly neighborhood Waffle House seeking breakfast and relief from 1,000,000% humidity. After seating ourselves in a sticky booth, we were immediately blown by flies which Brad attacked with a sale paper he scrounged up by the cash register. Gross.
“Tina” brought us bleachy water and hot coffee which slightly diverted my attention from the loud waitresses squawking at each other and flirting with the chubby old regulars on oxygen at the bar. 

As I nibbled my bacon I wondered about the life of the apparent anemic and atrophic hog who gave up his pork belly for the sake of the greasy, fly trodden menu and turned my attention and waning appetite to my perfectly scattered, covered, and smothered hash browns. I ate every bite of these embellished taters and sopped up my hormone laden egg yolks with margarine drenched wheat toast and dreamed of the refreshing, delicious Rocky Mountain water straight from the taps in fly-free, alternate universe Telluride. (This paragraph is two excellent run-on sentences. What would Ms Linda Wilson my 9th grade English teacher say?)

Back in the RV hurtling toward life and thanking God for everyone I love in that world. There’s a damn fly in here. 


Stop letting the imperfect tell you how to love yourself!


I m so burdened by the constant refrain “I need to lose weight, I wish I looked like <insert name of scary skinny, muscled up person here>” coming from so many gorgeous, successful, loving women that I know. If you are morbidly obese, if your weight is creating life threatening illness in your body, then PLEASE lose the appropriate amount of weight to get yourself physically healthy.

If you assess your self-worth by the cut of your muscles and size of your clothes, then work on letting that sick mentality go to get yourself emotionally healthy. Read this excerpt from Glennon Melton’s blog...
 … I was raised in a sexist culture. I was raised in a world that tried to convince me through media, through certain religious organizations, through inadequate history books and through the beauty industry – that female bodies are worth less than male bodies- and that certain types of female bodies (thin, tall young) are worth more than other types of female bodies.
The daily deluge of images of women’s bodies for sale and the onslaught of emaciated women’s bodies held up as the pinnacle of female achievement and the pervasive message that women exist to please men was the air I breathed.

Who are these people and what grand worth are their opinions to make us believe that??? It’s unreasonable and embarrassing, really.

I’ve learned the key for loving myself is to love others, to help others in real situations of need, not by achieving superficial expectations that someone else has set. The best selling book of all time says our bodies are the “temple of the Lord.” Have we ever really stopped to consider what that means?

Who are these “they” that say my body is imperfect? Hell, one hundred years ago no one but a spouse or a doctor even saw the naked bodies of others! Do you believe there wasn’t beauty and attractiveness before the age of anorexics in g-strings? Honestly.

Take some time to recognize what you love about yourself, give honor to it, and flaunt it, baby!


What was I whining about? Somebody hurt my feelings when I was 12? Cut me off in traffic? Somebody actually thinks I should grow up and own my mistakes? But that’s UNCOMFORTABLE! Yeah, we all do it; become self-appointed, insufferable victims over stuff we should have long moved on from. The next time I’m being embarrassingly querulous, I’m going to reach out to a victim of a REAL tragedy, offer some love, encouragement, support in whatever form necessary. I bet I get over myself pretty darn quick.





Unwelcome House Guests


Unwanted guests (home invaders!) arrived at our house one recent spring day in the form of tiny black ants around the kitchen sink. My kitchen is one of my favorite rooms in the house, all bright and joyful with items I love and enjoy adorning the counters and shelves.

Kitchen windowEDIT

Imagine my dismay to wake up that morning to a dark cloud cast over my cheery kitchen. Okay, so it wasn’t that dark considering ants are so tiny, but you know what I mean. All I could see was lines of tiny, black ants scurrying about my sink and counter tops, no doubt being “extremely wise” (if you say so, Bible). While the best-selling book of all time recommends the ways of the ant – Proverbs 6:6-8, Proverbs 30:24-25, I personally do not hold the pesky creatures in such high esteem.

As I was hurriedly leaving for work that morning, I stopped and grabbed my spray bottle of ‘I Love Lemon’ (kitchen cleaner by Blessed Nest Natural Cleaning products that I like to make with essential oils – recipe here) and sprayed the little colony scurrying around. BAM! DEAD!

Then as a repellant, I flung a few drops of Peppermint Essential Oil* around the back of the sink where the ants seem to be entering the sink area, then I rushed out the door. I went home at lunch time and NOT ONE SINGLE LIVING ANT could be found in my kitchen! Several days later a few determined ants attempted to set up camp around my sink again. With another dousing of Peppermint Essential Oil – this time mixed with filtered water in a spray bottle, the problem was again taken care. It’s been weeks since I and my cozy kitchen have been bugged by unwelcome guests.

*I use Peppermint Essential Oil by doTerra, my favorite essential oil brand.

DAY TWO: Washington, D.C., 05.30.13


Brad’s day began with meetings at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). At 1:00 pm, I gathered in the lobby with some other MADD board members and staff to take the Metrorail to join Brad and the others for a tour of the Newseum. “The Newseum, a 250,000 square foot museum of news, offers visitors an experience that blends five centuries of news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits.”  Very interesting!

November 22, 2013 marks the 50 year anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The museum has on display fabulous exhibits of never before seen photos and artifacts.

Creating Camelot - The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe.

Creating Camelot – The Kennedy Photography of Jacques Lowe.

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“We are going to sell Jack like soap flakes.” – Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.

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“I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris and I have enjoyed it.” -President John F. Kennedy

Along with the beautiful, happy photos of the Kennedy family were not so pleasant reminders.

Abraham Zapruder's famous camera. The private citizen captured the infamous deed on this home-movie camera.

Abraham Zapruder’s famous camera. The private citizen captured the infamous deed on this home-movie camera.

A sobering presentation of the Berlin Wall displayed actual sections of the Wall. East and West sides pictured.

Berlin Wall - East Side & West Side

Berlin Wall – East Side & West Side

Brad and I posed for a photo on the terrace of the Newseum. Notice the Canadian Embassy on the immediate left and the U.S. Capitol in the background.

American Citizens being all touristy.

American Citizens being all touristy.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

First Amendment Display. Shout out to MADD!

First Amendment Display. Shout out to MADD!

Washington D.C is steeped in the history of our nation’s founding and progress.  The historic presence was palpable as we walked the streets and were surrounded by artifacts. It’s a must-do trip for all Americans!







Blogs that minister to me…

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“There is creative reading as well as creative writing.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m addicted to blogs.

Blogs that cause me to step back, slow down and focus up. (Oh, Glennon, you tear my heart out and build me up all in a single post!)

Blogs written by beautiful, humble, wise women who have lived, really lived AND lived to tell about it. (Shelley, for thirty years we’ve laughed, cried, cussed and prayed our way through living – together and apart.)

Blogs that encourage and empower me to  “take <my> mistakes and offer them generously to others.”  (Darling Sarah, I weep that you can raise me up to think that anything I’ve done, mistake or not, is really a gift.)

Blogs that I identify with, that entertain me.  I know Ree and I would be best friends if I lived on a neighboring ranch. We share a love of food, family, animals, photos, movies, and say the same silly 80s slang.  Her blog is bitchen! (P-Dub, If I keep cooking like you do I’m going to have that ‘back fat’ you speak of!)

Blogs that are clever, crack me up and make me say ‘Amen!’ (Moochie, will your book have a chapter on J.D. Crowe?)

Blogs that teach me, broaden my awareness, humble me, and delight my eyes and mind with fun, fashionable photos! (Kelle, Nella’s birth story – I wept at the depths of beauty.)

Blogs that are exceptionally eloquent, sagacious, and make me proud.  Throw in incredible songwriting and musicianship – well, just go see for yourself. (Jenny Anne, your writing always woos my romance with reading.)

Blogs that put things in perspective, that magnify faith and God’s grace. (Vick, what can I say? I can’t imagine being a member of the club you were unwillingly drafted into. And thank you for sharing the potting shed.)

Blogs that feel like a conversation over coffee, with practical advice on housekeeping, and beauty tips. I smile just recalling the witty and affectionate tales of marriage and motherhood.  (Ramah, you’re a ‘damn good woman.’)

Maybe it’s strong, passionate, creative, real women that I’m addicted to.

Nanny – a good and faithful servant


Philippians 2:3-5
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

Reminiscing with Dad in Pigeon Forge, our family Christmas time. Our thoughts and conversation always turn to Nanny, who left our world at age 95 but will never leave our hearts. Dad told me this heart stirring story that completely epitomizes his mother, my Nanny – Winnie Davis Hartley Simmons, mother of ten – abandoned by her husband, the father of their ten children, when the youngest was nearly two years old.

1940s Hampton, TN – Nanny started out on foot to Elizabethton to see a dentist. A six mile trip but a neighbor picked her up and drove her into town.

At Nanny’s – Hampton, TN 1993

It was very common practice for those with automobiles to give rides to carless friends. Nanny was in pain and needed some teeth pulled. Her exchange with the dentist went like this:

Nanny: How much does it costs to get teeth pulled?
Dentist: $2 per tooth with Novocaine.
Nanny: How much without Novocaine?
Dentist: $1 per tooth without Novocaine.
Nanny: Well, Betty Jo (her little daughter) needs shoes so I’ll go without the Novocaine.

My sister says my hands are like Nanny’s. Oh, that the same would be said of my heart.