Monday, October 31, 2011

Oh. My. Shoes.

If you've been following this blog very long, you know that I don't often gush about materialistic things.  Frankly, there aren't that many things that knock my socks off.

Until I met these shoes.

Oh, my.  Lately I've had this urge to purge, so I've been cleaning out drawers and closets, etc.  I decided that at my age, I no longer had to suffer the aches and pains of too-tall heels, so from now on, all my shoes were going to be sensible heels of 2.5 inches or less.  So I tossed out several pairs, then went looking for sensible shoes to fill some of the gaping vacancies.

On, one of my favorite flash discount shopping sites, I saw a pair of shoes that looked great. Ordered them, and found them when I got home yesterday.

Wow.  Even the box took my breath away.  It wasn't a typical shoe box, with a lid that lifts off.  Oh, no, it was styled more like a drawer covered in delicate floral paper, complete with cord handles. The "drawer" slid out, and inside the delicate tissue paper I found the most glorious shoes.  So lovely, so unique, and so comfortable.  Even the bottom of the shoe was patterned with a lovely floral design in COLOR.

I looked at the label: Poetic Licence, London (notice the British spelling).  And then I went online in a search for more of these shoes.  You'll find them all over the place, in everything from flats to too-tall heels (for this woman, anyway), but all of them are bright, unique, colorful, and dazzling.  I am in love.  Don't pay retail--you can find sites that discount them dramatically.  :-)

So here I am, gushing over shoes.  (I ordered three more pairs).   And for these shoes, I might even venture to wear a three-inch heel.   (But not those you see in the purple picture!)  :-)


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Travel back in time via historical Penny Postcards

What our beach looked like years ago. Today, those trees have been replaced by condos!
Go to this site and click on your state, then your county.  Then scroll down to your city, or just admire all the views of how your county looked in years gone by.  Amazing and beautiful!

A tip of the hat to Tanzel Rousey for leading me to this site. :-)


Saturday, October 29, 2011


The other day I was getting dressed in a hotel and a glimmer caught my eye. I looked in the mirror and saw the necklace that I wear almost all the time. It's silver, so it hasn't tarnished, and from its simple silver chain hang three silver tear-shaped pendants. These tiny pendants are engraved (in writing so small only I can see it) with one simple word each: Hope. Inspire. Dream.

Hope--even in the midst of heartbreak, we can place our certain hope in the Lord. As bleak as the world may seem, though the future may appear daunting or formidable, we have the precious assurance that our hopes will be realized and our sorrow will last for a season, not for eternity. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.  Hope. A beautiful word.

Inspire. God-breathed. We are inspired and we can inspire others. We breathe the breath of God into our bodies, hearts, and minds, and then we breathe it out into the bodies, hearts, and minds of others. Inspire. A humbling word.

And finally, dream.  I've always been wary of dreaming for things that may not be part of God's ordained plan for this life, but some dreams are clearly God-inspired. And then there are the dreams that are not synonymous with "goal," but the visions we see on our closed eyelids as we sleep. I dream in color and vivid detail, and usually wake with a story on my lips, ready to entertain or bewilder my patient husband.
Sometimes, I think, we achieve not because we dream not.  Dream. A challenging word.

Hope. Inspire. Dream. I am happy to wear those words around my neck every day.  I ordered this necklace from a catalog years ago, and I don't think I've ever seen it since.

But I'm glad I found it when I did.


Friday, October 28, 2011

This is precious--toddler thinks magazine is an iPad. :-)

This reminds me of that funny scene in Star Trek IV where Scotty goes up to a desktop computer (in our time) and talks to it, expecting it to respond . . .

Ah, babies and technology. Even my five-month old granddaughter seemed to know what to do with my iPhone the other day . . .


Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Yeti has gone Mainstream

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Bigfoot is now being taken seriously, more or less, in Siberia, where he is known as the Yeti.  They are having a conference, and it's being by attended by an American woman who says she's regularly feeding a family of Bigfeet. Er, Bigfoots.  Whatever.

The often-spotted, never-verified creature even has a biological classification: Homonid, the study of the science of Hominology.

And I'd feature a photo, but, well, there aren't any of the actual creature.  :-)  And  I can see broken branches and twisted tree limbs in almost any part of the country.

Have you ever encountered any strange creatures in the woods?  Do tell!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chinese Toddler Hit Twice and Ignored

Yue Yue, the little girl who died. 
You've probably heard about the Chinese toddler who was hit TWICE by passing trucks and then ignored by several passers-by as she lay broken in the street.  I've just watched the video, and it's heart-breaking.

I'll admit that pictures of Asian babies do something to me because MY children were Asian babies. I can't see that little two-year old Chinese girl without thinking of my own daughter.  But the resulting display of heartlessness has left China questioning its social values, which it certainly should.

In this country, how many people are inflamed or incensed by stories of abused dogs and cats, yet they say nothing when a child is ignored on the street?  Have we become so inured to the sight of human suffering that we block it out?  Or are we just as guilty as the Chinese, who, like us, are so caught up in the demands of daily life that we don't see the shut-ins, the lonely neighbors, the frightened teenagers, the sullen children who are in need of help?

I've been convicted by the story of this little girl.  Would I have stopped on that day, or would I have assumed that someone else was already running to help?  Would I have worried about lawsuits and liability, or would I think of Jesus' story of the good Samaritan?

Lord, open our eyes today to the hurting people around us.  Jar us awake, if need be, and help us to see this world through your eyes.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Did you catch the birth announcement?

Yesterday, experts tell us, the world's seven billionth baby was born.  Happy birthday, little one.  Welcome to a world that has never been this crowded with problems or potential.

I loved the perspective on our planet's growing population in the Wall Street Journal.   The author of an op ed piece, William McGurn, states that human beings are "minds, not mouths" and my mind immediately went to the abortion vs. life debate.  How many times do we see unborn babies as potential problems when they are more likely to be potential blessings?  Adoptive parents wait with open arms for these "problem" unborns, and even when the child remains with his or her biological family, parents often find that these children bring their own special gifts to the family.

Methinks this seven billion population total is God's way of pouring out his love on more people than ever before . . . offering yet another opportunity to fill our eternal and infinite home with infinite possibilities.

Happy birthday, baby.  May you find your Creator and rejoice in your heritage.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Blue Ridge Glory

I'm up here near Asheville, North Carolina, and the fall colors are gorgeous.  I really miss them, living in Florida, and this trip was a blessing.  Just look at this photo, snapped on my walk from the dining room to the lodge where we're all staying.  Brilliant golds, vibrant reds, still-gorgeous greens . . . it's lovely.

What is fall like where you are?


Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Map or "Waxing Thoughtful at the Airport"

My mirrors at home are kind,
But photos do not lie. And in them I see
A face unknown to me, though I have lived its contours and ridges,
I have stamped its surface with a roadmap of passions and wounds.

Recently someone said that I have much in common with Annette Benning—
The same hair, same coloring, the same age. The same apparent aversion to
Map-erasing surgeries and nerve numbing agents.

I cannot speak for Annette, but in photos I see fine marks sketched by myriad smiles,
Grooves carved by innumerable words and dining occasions.  I fancy I can trace
The salty tracks of watery gallons, a rivulet-smoothed plane running from north to south.
Other marks are deep crevasses carved by grief: of desire denied, fissures of frustration, clear tracks of unyielding sorrow.

But a loving hand has smoothed those cracks, filled them in not with man-made substitutes, but with peace and understanding.
Yet a trace remains. A print intended to remind me, I think, of the pain and the Panacea. 
So I look at human portraits and reflect upon the creator’s loving hand. A road for each of us, a path preplanned.

I will not envy when I study fresh-faced youths who have barely begun to live. And for those who would deny their existence with stitched and stretched skin and false fills, I feel a measure of pity.
For a face is a road map, a wordless book that speaks every language.
A mirror of a soul. 


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

A season in baseball . . .

This year I became a baseball fan.  And one of my deepest regrets is that I didn't become a fan while my daddy was living.  I think we would have enjoyed talking about our teams.

The boys in blue. 
As a writer, I know the key to making any sports story come alive is to focus on a PERSON.  And that's why I became a baseball fan.  Because my youth pastor hubby knows a young man who has been moving around in the majors, and this year he happened to get picked up by our home team.

So suddenly we KNEW somebody on the team, and what's more, we like him.   (And I'm not going to give you his name because . . . well, because it feels wrong.)  So we began to devoutly follow the Rays, and I think I watched more baseball games than even my husband did.  I watched during the day, I watched at night.  I even got an iPad program that allowed me to "watch" when I was traveling.
Loved this kid's enthusiasm. 

And I asked my hubby so many questions I think I drove him crazy:  Why doesn't it count as a hit if the batter hits the ball?  Why do Little League teams and soccer teams shake their opponents' hands after a game and professional teams don't?  How can a runner get to first base if he never even hits the ball, but just sends it rolling around?  And why is it fair for a pitcher to intentionally walk a hitter? Shouldn't he get a chance to hit the darn thing?
The Trop was rockin'. 

And through it all I learned a lot more about baseball than I ever thought I'd know.  And all of it, of course, is grist for the writer's mill, though the idea of writing a baseball book seems pretty far out for me.

This guy--in a manta ray suit--yelled, "Put me on Facebook; I don't care!" To which I replied, "Obviously." 
Anyway, if you didn't see the game that put us in the playoffs--Rays versus Yankees, who dominated 7-0 throughout the first seven innings--you missed a miracle.  We got into the playoffs and had high hopes--after all, miracles can happen more than once--but our dreams came to an end yesterday. But hubby and I were in the stadium, sitting right beneath the huge video screen, and saw it all come down to a final inning, a final out.

And as I watched the Rays players manfully consoling each other in the dugout, I realized that these demigods of the athletic world will now feel like chess pieces being moved around.  Managers trade players; they move people; they shift players for reasons that have to do more with skill and salary than with team loyalty. So some of the young men who formed this Rays team may never play together again--at least not wearing the same team jersey.

So this ending is bittersweet.  I assume the Rays will field a team next year, and so will the other MLB franchises, but I've come to know and appreciate each face under those caps and helmets.  So thanks, guys, for a great year and a terrific learning experience.  Hope to see you again in the Spring.


Monday, October 03, 2011

Lake Michigan--beautiful!

I spent last week teaching at the Maranatha Christian Writers' Conference in Muskegon, Mi.  The facility was located practically on the shores of Lake Michigan, so every morning I walked down to the lake and then wended my way back through the woods.

See the beautiful doe I met?  She was closer than it would appear. 

It's so beautiful.  I wish I'd brought my "good" camera, but made do with my iPhone camera.  Just look at some of these sights.

Maranatha is a lovely conference, with great people and a lovely location.  Not to mention the fall-ish weather.  Loved every minute of it.