Brown Like Purple. Again.

For those of you following along with my previous blogs please note that yesterday I officially ran out of eyeliner.  The standard boring brown kind.  I have none.  I’m going to have to go to the store and buy more eyeliner.  I hate buying makeup.

I only bring this up because I’m two weeks into my training for my triathlon which is what I signed up for instead of buying purple eyeliner.   That’s how much I hate the makeup aisle.  I signed up to run 3 miles, swim 1/4 mile and bike 12 miles all to get the same fun kick as trying out a crazy shade of makeup.  Clearly I need help.

In the last couple weeks I’ve texted my ever patient and very talented swimming cousin about a thousand times with every question under the sun.   At her recommendation, I purchased a swimsuit that is scary.  It called a Dolphin Ugly.  Who wants to wear a swimsuit from a company that markets said suit as Ugly?   Me apparently.    I also purchased goggles.   I haven’t worn either.  They are on my front porch.  Go Amazon Prime.  I had my bike fixed and it is now sporting new tires and new shifters.   I joined the local YMCA.    I should have just bought purple eyeliner and moved on.  Would have been cheaper. But now I’m too far in to quit.

First day at the Y I ran and biked and found the bathrooms and didn’t die.   Today was my first day in the pool.   I was thrilled that the only other people in the pool were a bunch of grandmas doing a senior water workout class.      Today my goal was to swim the distance I’ll have to do in the actual event in August.   I succeeded.  Sort of.   18 laps is a long way to go when out of shape.  Most of it I did on my back.   I ran my head into the end wall only once.   I veered into the other lanes only twice.  Go me.  Ha.

Problem with swimming and working out is that now I’m starving.  And I have four days left on my I don’t eat diet.   I’m a tad scared that when its over I’m going to promptly eat everything in sight and gain all 27 pounds back.    I laughed with a co-blogger who stated that she was scared one pastrami sandwich post diet would be her undoing.    She said in reality it would probably take two pastrami sandwiches.   That’s me.  A little scared of purple eyeliner and pastrami sandwiches.

I’m a little scared but mostly I’m grateful.  I am grateful to my cousins who agreed to coach.  I’m grateful to my girlfriends who signed up with me.   I’m grateful to my spouse who like always is cheering me on.

I’m grateful to the Y for this great quotation from Ghandi that is painted on their wall.   ” Strength does not come from physical capacity.  It comes from an indomitable will”.  This is why I think we’ve got a shot at finishing in August.  Its because I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.

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My 100 Books

I’ve had several people ask my for my list of 100 books.  Here it is.  Please note that some of these are recent reads and we’ll have to see if they stick with me.   There are some books I’ve loved over the years that have fallen off this list simply because they didn’t stick.  But most of these books I think about, they make their way into my conversations and into my writing.  They are books I want my kids to read and books I try to talk my friends into reading.   I’ve left #100 empty for two reasons -First I always have room for another book and second – I want to know what books on this list you love and which ones you hate and which ones I should add.    Any that are marked with an * are young adult reads and any with ** are picture books.  Frankly I learn as much from a beautiful picture book as I do from a full length novel.   These aren’t in any particular order – the books of the Bible I listed are certainly not that low on my personal list….

1. Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
2. The Great Divorce by CS Lewis
3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle*
4. Amazing Grace by Eric Metaxis
5. A movable Feast by Ernest Hemmingway
6. Exodus by Leon Uris
7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
8. Left to Tell by Immacule Ilibagiza
9. Taste and See by John Piper
10. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

11. Strength in what remains by Tracy kidder
12. Dangerous Surrender by Kay Warren
13. Gone with the wind by Margaret Mitchell
14. Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
15. Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell
16. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
17. We wish to info you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families by Philip Gourvich
18. The Parisians by Graham Robb
19. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaeffer
20. All the Narnia books by CS Lewis *

21. Andrew Henry’s Meadow by Doris Burn **
22. This is not my hat by Jon Klassen **
23. A sick day for Amos McGee by Philip stead **
24. Grandfathers Journey by Allen Say **
25 The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr.. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce **
26. Don’t let the Pidgeon drive the bus by mo willems **
27. Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch **
28. No one owns the moon by Tohny Riddle **
29. Hand hand fingers thumb by dr suess **
30. Giant John by Arnold Lobel **

31. Ramona the Pest, Beverly Cleary *
32. Danny Champion of the world , Roald Dahl *
33. Heidi, Johanna Spyre *
34. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkein
35. Bridge to Teribithia by Katherine Paterson *
36.Little house on the prairie by Laura Ingells Wilder *
37. The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett *
38. Little Women by Loiuse May Alcott *
39.Tales of Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne *
40. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster *

41. John: so much love   (BIBLE)
42. Esther: bravery defined  (BIBLE)
43. Ruth: loyalty lived  (BIBLE)
44. Nehemiah: I am building a wall and I can’t come down  (BIBLE)
45. James: just do it  (BIBLE)
46. Psalms; I see you  (BIBLE)
47. Proverbs: live thus  (BIBLE)
48. Romans; think through this  (BIBLE)
49. Hebrews: you can do it too  (BIBLE)
50. Revelations: glory glory  (BIBLE)

51. The Firm by John Grisham
52. Big trouble by Dave Barry
53. All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot
54. Brave New World by Aldus Huxley
55. Enchantment by Orson Scott Card
56. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
56. When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin
57. Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls
58. AVoice in the Wind by Francine Fivers
59. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler by EL Koniksburg *
60. My Side of the Mountain by John Craighea D George *

61. Gone with the Wind. Margaret Mitchell
62. A Room with a View. EM Forster

63. Journey – Aaron becker **

64. Choosing Joy – Kay Warren

65 The Adventures of Beekle = Dan Santat **

66. Throw out 50 Things – Gail Blanke

67. Unoffendable – Brant Hanson

68. Joni – An Unforgettable Story – Joni Eareckson Tada

69 Cross and the Switchblade – David Wilkerson

70 Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand

71 Seabiscuit – Laura Hillenbrand

72 The Case for Faith – Lee Strobble

73. What’s so amazing about Grace – Phillip Yancey

74. Mere Christianity – CS Lewis

75. The Book Theif – Markus Zusak

76. The Boy who Harnessed the Wind William Kamkwamba

77. Same Kind of Different as Me – Ron Hall, Denver Moore

78. Struggle for Intamacy – (ACofA) Janet Geringer Woititz

79. Erasing Hell – Francis Chan

80. The Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

81. Winnie The Pooh – A A Milne *

82: Black Beauty – Anna Seuwell *

83. Charlotte’s Web E B White *

84. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

85. The Purpose Driven Life – Rick Warren

86. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

87. The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

88. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway

89. Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan

90. The Screwtape Letters – C S Lewis

91. Olivia and the Princesses – Ian Falconer **

92. Holes – Louis Sachar *

93. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – Robert C. O’Brien *

94. S: J. J. Abrams, Doug Dorst

95. Enchantment – Orson Scott Card

96. The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald

97. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

98. The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury

99. On Writing – Stephen King



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Brown like Purple

Strange thing happened to me yesterday.   I was standing in the makeup aisle at Safeway.   Which should have warned me something was not right.  I don’t wear a ton of makeup and when I do it’s always the same.   A little Clinique coverup, brown  eyeliner and some mascara.     That’s it really.     

During my get rid of 40 boxes during Lent challenge I cleaned out my makeup drawer and moved out the nine tubes of various shades of never used lipstick.   Felt good.

So over the weekend I told a friend I was ready for a new look.  She told me to go for it. Buy a new eyeliner.   Go purple!   Fun! I like new things.  I like purple!

So yesterday, standing in the makeup aisle I was looking at purple eyeliners.  And I put it back.  Chickened out.  It occurred to me that I’m almost 40 and perhaps purple sparkles is not who I am at core.   Right?

I have this gorgeous pair of heels. Love them. Never wear them. I put them on sometimes and walk down my hallway.  Twist my ankle. Grin. Take them off.  My two year old wears them more than I do.   Giving them away.   They are gorgeous. But they aren’t really me. 

 So instead of buying the purple eyeliner I walked out of the store.   Went to my computer.  Sat and contemplated the novice entry form for the short distance triathalon that friends and I have been flirting with for the past several months.    

Why I really want is a brown eyeliner that feels purple.  I don’t want a new me.  I just want a challenge and an adventure and some silly fun.

So I did it. I registered.  16 weeks. 1/4 swim, 12 mile bike, 5k run. That’s some purple.  Wanna join me?


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Weight in the Court

Every so often I spend time in a court room.  I’m usually waiting to have my two minute say on a claim.    I’ve read enough Grisham novels to be interested in the drama and I’ve worked with enough attorneys to generally keep up with what is happening.   When I has a teen I wanted to be an attorney.   Turns out it’s cheaper and more time efficient to hire one than to get the degree.  But I like courtrooms. Occasionally it’s humorous.  Sometimes its sad. It’s never boring. This week, regardless that the scene was short, was remarkable.

I was sitting in the back row of the gallery.   I like to sit in the back. A better view of the crowd.   It was obvious there was one man who was not happy to be present.   The court clerk called the room to order and asked if anyone needed an interpreter or accommodations.   The man in the front row quite loudly informed the clerk he has had a recent knee replacement replacement and so he needed to go first.   The clerk marked her paper, nodded and continued her speech.

Angry man repeadly huffed and sighed and interrupted the clerk while demanding special treatment.  When he was assigned to his mediator he slightly limped out.   All judgment aside, I’m sure the surgery hurt.   He made sure we all knew.

And then there was this other man who quietly sat in the back.  He didn’t respond when she asked if anyone needed accommodations. Although no one would have blinked had he asked.  He sat quietly and patiently waited his turn.

This man had clearly survived a horrible fire.  His whole body was scarred and marbled.  He had no ears.    It looked like it must hurt to blink.  Both hands had stumps for fingers.  One leg was noticably much shorter.

When this man’s case was called I smiled because it turned out he was a self employed business owner.    I love entrepreneurs.  Especially ones who beat the odds.

When it was his turn to leave the courtroom, he picked up his documents deftly with what was left of his hands and walked out confidently  though it was obvious by gate and speed that every step hurt.

I wanna be like this guy.   Independent.  Tough.   Courageous.  Unassuming.  Patient.  Faithful.   Resourceful.

Sadly,  frequently  I’m like the first man.  Overly concerned about my needs, holding on tightly to my excuses (however valid they may be) and loudly demanding accommodations.

Now I only saw both men for about five minutes. I have no idea who they really are or the stories either would tell.  But I do know our lives are made up of choices we make in little five minutes increments.  Choices about how we handle what life deals.  And people are watching.

 I was a witness to an incredible juxtaposition of two responses to a wait in a court room.   And one man’s choice reflected character.   Weighty.  

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Priceless Porcelain

photoI spent Sunday afternoon at a bridal shower for my beautiful cousin.   She’s marrying my kind of man.   Big burly guy with a full beard who cooks and brews his own beer and has a gentle spirit.   Good choice.    The bridal shower was a full formal English tea.  My lovely aunt pulled out all her fancy dishes and her even fancier recipes.  We were surrounded by Devonshire cream, peanut butter truffles, chicken salad tarts, cucumber sandwiches and strawberry soup.   Earl Grey and Mango Passion and Peppermint Teas.   Rolled butter and jam and heart-shaped scones.    It was all beautiful.

I brought my daughters along even though I think technically they weren’t invited.  My aunt is the kind

photo 1where people who show up uninvited get a warm welcome.   She hauled a familiar child’s table and chairs downstairs and unpacked a beautiful tiny tea set.    I gulped a little.  The table, chairs and tea set all belonged to my cousin, Annie.   She currently has her tea parties in heaven.   Treasures from ones we’ve lost should be treated with care.

And my two-year old is….well….she’s two.

My aunt looked directly at the little miss and said “I know you’ll be fine, you know how to  be gentle”.   She looked at me and said “I won’t take it with me”.

Ah yes.  That lesson again.   People matter more than things.   Our treasures are in heaven.

I love that my aunt holds things loosely and people tightly.   It’s the right priority.

photo 4The little girls were, in fact, gentle.   I’m sure the vote of confidence from my aunt went a long way.  I should remember this.  I tend to rise to the standard that I’m treated.   If  I assume they’ll be gentle than it’s significantly more likely they’ll be gentle.   The girls toasted each other.  They toasted the bride.   They ate all the sugar cubes.    photo 3

After the tea, the youngest daughter hauled presents up to the bride.   My eldest daughter learned how to make a rehearsal practice bridal bouquet.   We told her this was an important life skill.    Used significantly more often than algebra.   Don’t tell her I said that.   Don’t tell my math teacher friends that either.   Algebra is important.

photo 5After everyone went home my sister and I stayed to help with the dishes.    My aunt sent me a text today expressing great thanks for the help serving the tea and doing the dishes.    It was seriously my pleasure.  Standing in the kitchen yesterday with my sister and my aunt I thought about our weddings and bridal showers and graduation parties.    My aunt helped at them all.  It frequently required planet tickets to do so.    This post is officially my return thank you.   Thank you for the many parties and recipes and dishes.   Thank you for the life lessons and the love.   Thank you for sharing your daughter’s tea set with my daughters.   Thank you for letting us love on your daughter.

Moms and daughters.  Aunts and nieces.

It was priceless.

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Nine for Nine

Right about this time nine years ago I had just arrived at the hospital.   My husband had safely traversed the long and windey road we lived down to haul his overdue and laboring wife to the hospital.   Okay so I was only one day overdue but it was the longest day of my entire life.    Naturally I had a notebook paper and a stop watch and was timing and recording every contraction.   I still have it in the new arrival’s babybook.  Paper and lists always help.

IMG_1158In honor of The Eldest’s birthday my husband made a cake.   He always makes us cakes.    This one is a winner.   Its a Clementine Cake like the one featured in the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.     Great movie.  Great cake.   It involves lots of sugar, a whole bunch of clementine oranges and almond flour.     Points with some for being gluten free.

The first time the Resident Chef made this cake it was actually too sweet.  And a little too wet.  I ate an enormous piece anyway.  The candied oranges on top I ate ……..a lot of them.

I’m planning on cheating today on my diet and I’m eating a piece of this cake later today.  I figure I deserve it for the nine months I hauled the birthday girl around and the various times I’ve hauled her around over the last nine years.   Nine years full of joy, a little heartache and quite a few photos.   She is the oldest after all.


ONE:     I love green hat!   Those sweet grandmas at the hospital who donate hats to the  newborns are on my favorite people list.  Both our girls still have their hats.   The nine-year-olds is in tatters and hides in her baby book tucked in along side my lists – when she ate, when she slept, how she made us grin.

TWO:      Another hat!  And a red button nose.    This one was always willing to sit and pose and her daddy loved it.   Truthfully she’s still likes to dance and sinDSC_0816_2g and tell jokes and entertain.   This little red nose and sparkling blue eyes epitomize life with her as a toddler.  When I was a little girl I always knew my mom was in the mood for some silly fun when i noticed her eyes sparkling.    The nine-year-old matches her grandma. DSC_4540 corrected

THREE:    Someone once told me that part of growing up is learning to be a part of a team.  To listen quietly.  To be respectful of teachers.    I agree.  But I think that’s the lesser important part of growing up.   I believe that growing up involves learning to stand.   To speak.  To have courage and conviction.   To lead.    This photo tells me she’s getting it.   She looks life straight on.

FOUR:  DSC_1663 photoshop

Freckles.   I really love Freckles.    My mama calls them angel kisses.

FIVE:    Every childhood has some painful chapters.  Bullies or sickness or family strife.   Kids in some places have hunger and war and homelessness.   So i’m overIMG_2273whelmed with gratitude that so far this one’s painful chapters have been covered by grace.    And while I would not have picked the road she traveled – I am proud of how she traveled it.    My daughter told me the day that this photo was taken that she was sad it was the last time she’d have to go see her doctor.  Mind you – I was cheering it was the last day for shots to the scalp.  She said she’d miss her doctor.    Doctor said the kid was the toughest one she’d ever personally met.    High pain tolerance.   Great courage.    Good girl.


The thing about the candied oranges on this clementine cake is that you eat the whole orange.   Rind and all.   Its a little bitter thrown in with the sweet.    Its a bit like the painful chapters.   All rainbow and sunshines and spoiling and kids turn out too sweet.   Growth can be painful but the result is oh so fabulous.

SIX:    No sleep.   Miles of walking.    One enormousIMG_2877us museum.    These two amazing smiles.   The one is famous.   The other melts my heart.   I loved that she wanted to see the Mona Lisa.   She said that its not dark like all the books show.  Its full of color.  And so is my nine-yIMG_2981ear-old.

SEVEN:    I was standing staring at the Notre Dame Cathedral.   My daughter liked the pigeons.   Naturally.   She loves to dive in where there is movement and life and energy.   And she’s not afraid of a little mess.   Or a lot of mess.  If you are looking for some adventure then this is the girl for you.   You’ll be tired.  But its worth it.

EIGHT:    This nine-year-old can beat me at chess.   Not all the time.  But i have to really pay attention and think ahead to win.    Give her another year in chess club and I’m gonna have to read up to keep up.    She’s willing to share her secrets to winning though and that fact makes me proud to be her mama.  She’d rather everyone get better than save up the sIMG_3123ecrets to win for herself.    Although that mischevioIMG_2197us grin comes out in full force when she says “check mate”.

NINE:     She’s not perfect.  None of us are.  But she’s passionate and fun and intelligent and she loves to read and cartwheel and …..can you tell we like her? As my mom says ” I guess we’ll keep her another year”.

It’ll be fun to watch what happens in this next year.  Her last one in single digits.  I’m sure it’ll have moments of bitter, tons of sweet and that extra zing to make it all come together.    Zest.    My nine year old has lots of Zest.     Like this cakeIMG_1160.


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Flip Side: Lost


My spouse does most of our laundry.   He makes his own detergent and generally doesn’t let me touch the washer or dryer.  Not that I’m complaining.    I help fold sometimes and I am solely responsible for putting away the laundry for myself and the girls.   I believe this is because my organizational skills in the various closets drive him crazy.  Our marriage does better if he doesn’t have to look in the closets.   I also deal with mismatched socks.    My husband never has a problem with his socks.  Never.   He says it’s because he puts them in the laundry at the same time.   Novel idea.   The girls and I haven’t tried this plan really so we have periodic socks that get lost.

I used to have a basket that I kept all the mismatched socks in.   This became depressing so about a year ago I threw out all the mismatched socks and started afresh.  My new plan was that any time there wasn’t a mate I’d just throw the sock back in the laundry.    The socks tend to find their lost partners over a few loads and its worked pretty well.   Until lately.

photo 1

I’ve developed a pile again.  Only this time they are going through the laundry repeatedly.   The purple stripey sock there made me mad this morning.   I really like those socks.   Its been awhile since it had a partner.

I went downstairs to get The eldest out of bed and was still thinking about my sock.   As she dealt with the fact it was morning I chose her clothes for the day. Side note:  I count the fact that she still let’s me do this as a great blessing.  I opened her sock drawer and was dismayed to find another big pile of mismatched socks.  Apparently she had a different plan downstairs with her lost socks.   I thought well lookie here,  I need the same plan! and I grabbed all the socks and threw them in her laundry.

photo 2

 A couple of minutes later and my tired morning brain rattled around and finally set off a purple stripey sock alarm.    It was like playing the game of memory.   Wait a minute.    I saw two of these today: and now they are both sitting in piles of dirty laundry.

Lots of things get lost in my world.   I juggle lots of life.    Its a joy.   But as I’ve mentioned before I have lots of loose ends.   Lost socks. My cousin recently posted a quotation that said ” I hope wherever my hair ties go they are all happy together.” Lost keys.   Lost rings.  I told this sad story a couple of years ago.  The Value of Rings.  I never found my mama’s ring.   So my husband bought me a new one.  Too big.  My parents bought me a new one.  Slightly too big.   I lost it too.  I bought a new one.   Too small.   I feel like Goldilocks.

More important things get lost too.   I lose motivation and inspiration and hope and joy.   People lose faith and their path.     When I lose my way my first instinct is to write it off as a loss.   Its gone.  Lost.   Forget it.   Not worth the effort to find it.    When someone lets me down it’s tempting to throw out the relationship.  Find a new project.

This morning I dug through the dirty laundry trying to find and rescue my purple socks.   It was worth the effort.

photo 3

The truth is that Jesus invested great time and effort and hardship and pain to drag me through the laundry and reconnect me to hope.  The Shepherd left the flock to go and find me.   It makes me want to get my hands dirty.  Rescue something that’s lost.  Throw my hurt in the laundry and surface with passion.    Try forgiving the one you know who went astray.   I think you’ll both feel found.

Want to see my talented Uncle’s take on things that get lost?   Check out his Flip Side : Lost!


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