feeling prosperous - an exercise

I'm reading Julia Cameron's The Prosperous Heart. The assignment it to fill in the blank: I felt prosperous when _______. I felt prosperous when I was newly divorced living on Smith Street. Of course, I've never articulated that thought before. Upon moving in, I quickly began the old house's makeover. For wall paint, I chose pink and blue and it was a lovely, tasteful combination. The blue was called Mirage Blue and it was on... Read more →


2012 in review

In a nutshell, 2012 was one of the hardest years of my life. Gone are the days of children who adore me. Gone are the days of being on the same wavelength with Gordon regarding parenting. Gone are the days of loving to be home enjoying my haven, my castle. I write this in a brand new year and I feel great. I think 2013 is going to be an amazing year. But it's far... Read more →


a thanksgiving prayer

It's another Thanksgiving Day and a perfect time to express my thanks to you. You have given me an amazingly full life of goodness and grace. Thank you for relationship with you and letting me experience life knowing you. Thank you for the work you've done in my life, for forgiveness, for healing, for the tremendous changes you've made in me. I'm grateful from the core of my being. You've changed me from the inside... Read more →


august's photo diary

August 2012 photo diary August's photo diary is undramatic, largely because my cell phone is currently my only camera and it takes undramatic pictures, at best. Secondly, August has consisted of lots of cleaning and organizing. 1. Deborah's clean bedroom; she went to Arkansas on August 13 and I cleaned her room that day. I go in there everyday to pray for her. 2. View of the stairs from my recliner. 3. View of my... Read more →


walk into the questions

"Thank you God for this new day and for the time to work and play. Please be with me all day long in every story game or song. May all the happy things I do, make You, my Father, happy too." That's a prayer poem by Dale Evans Rogers that was in a book of poems I used to read to Rachael and Hannah back when they were toddlers in Mill Woods. Those were the... Read more →


july's 12 in '12

July's 12 in '12 This is my July 12 in '12 collage. As I wrote here, for the remainder of the year I am journaling each month in picture. This picture is loaded with signficant and meaningful stuff irrespective of how insignificant it looks. 1. St. Francis of Assisi is one of the great mentors in my life. I read something in late June that sparked a desire to re-read some of the things I've... Read more →


temporary empty nest

Hannah's first painting in a long time. Home is so calm, uneventful and quiet this week. Hannah is in detox, Deborah is at Gull Lake Camp and, of course, Rachael hasn't lived here for weeks. It's just Gordon and me. The break is welcome. I don't know if Gordon shares that viewpoint. PChAD, I think, seems radical to him. I think he thinks I'm half crazed in pursuing it. Weeks ago when I told Hannah... Read more →


seventeen years old

Rachael at Little Bow in 2010, 15 years old This weekend Rachael and Nick are camping at Little Bow to celebrate her birthday. That's bittersweet; bitter because it's her first birthday away from home, sweet because she acts like a good little wife as she's preparing to camp. She is looking forward to showing Nick Little Bow. I'm disappointed and grieved by a number of Rachael's present choices. She uses pot and alcohol, lives with... Read more →


court-ordered intervention

2004, Hannah's first experience with the ocean, Florida Monday I went to court to get Hannah's PChAD (Protection of Children Abusing Drugs) order. I had to prove why I thought Hannah needed the protection of a court-ordered detox program. It was hard revealing these gross things to strangers who didn't know Hannah prior to drug use tainting her. The reasons I gave for the application: She was caught using pot at school. Her diary indicates... Read more →


valerie's manifesto

After lengthy meditation on the subject, I've created a manifesto, a conviction list, of sorts. The process was a clarifying one. I highly recommend it for one's own focus and grounding. I love it!! Read more →


god, why?

Hannah (9 years old) and Frodo 2005 Hannah came home today. Since we’ve not known where she has been for a week, this is wonderful news. Eight days ago, Hannah left the house around 2 a.m. Things similar in nature have happened before, enough so that they don’t terrify us like they use to. But they exasperate, exhaust, and burden us. Gordon and I sat in our old Adirondack chairs sipping our tea in silence... Read more →


god's purpose on the job

(I will now break all cardinal rules for the internet by talking about work. I have never done this before.) I' m having a hard time at work. It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't environment. I strive to rise above the annoyances, abuse and negativity. Last week I failed utterly. Failure is tough when you take being an example seriously. I don't know how my work struggles will end. Sometimes I... Read more →


i love not camping

This week will be a quiet week. A quiet week sounds really good. Gordon and Deborah have gone camping. Rachael isn't here and Hannah is laying low. Camping. Oh the bliss of not being there! I have camped myself into a hope-to-never-camp-again mode. We are old fashioned campers. We don't have a camper or recreational vehicle of any kind. We use good old fashioned tents and sleeping bags. For years, we camped every summer simply... Read more →


letting go

Rachael, 2010, 10 years old Today is Rachael's first training shift at Superstore. I'm so proud of her for getting this job. Last week she had a day of orientation and was so cute as she relayed some of the things she learned. The owner/boss told stories and anecdotes that interested Rachael and she took notes - the only new hire doing so. That's her mom and dad coming out in her. The following day... Read more →


mindi makes me laugh

Mindi Rae It has been almost a year since Deborah and I went to Arkansas in hopes that the family would be able to move there. (It didn't work out but that's a different story.) On our long drive down, we stopped in Iowa to visit my special niece, Mindi. I commented on her cute decor and style. She said Dustin called her style "kindergarten granny." Dustin has more traditional taste than Mindi. Whereas Mindi... Read more →


thursday thirteen

2009, Valerie, Michael, Diane, Daddy, Stacie 1. I did a very foolish thing by not refilling a prescription. I've been out of it for about a week and a half. Bad, bad idea. Evidently it helps keep me sane. 2. I'm extraordinarily cranky and edgy. 3. I would kind of like to stab a few people with a fork. 4. Some people simply need a high five. In the face. With a chair. 5. Need... Read more →


just for fun

my backyard in the morning, I adore it out here A few weeks ago I referenced Gretchen Rubin's, The Happiness Project, in which she challenged me to think about what is fun for me. And I did; I thought long and hard about the things I like to do, the things I look forward to, the things I make time for. In the process, I had an epiphany: it's okay to call the things I... Read more →


self harm

Gordon and Deborah, 2007, 7 years old, no training wheels Deborah fell asleep early tonight, and on the sofa too. Both of those - asleep early and falling asleep in the living room - are not usual occurrences for Deborah. She is on new medications to help her deal with several issues, poor sleep being one of them. Deborah has had a hard year. She hasn't had an easy time making friends and she's been... Read more →


12 in '12

1. Deborah 2. Peewee 3. Emily and Rebekah 4. backyard lilac 5. love to Deborah 6. tomato plant 7. lettuce 8. from Stacie's porch 9. Casanova 10. my feet 11. petunias 12. Hannah Recently my niece Mindi posted a series of collages on Facebook. Each collage had 12 photos for every month from 2012. She called them 12's 2012. I was impressed with the idea but sad I didn't know about it in January so... Read more →


deborah sings georgia

This was a moment of pride. Deborah performed at a talent show called the BAM Factor. She has such a pretty, smooth voice - an unusual and lovely voice, especially a 12 year old. Have a listen. You'll be impressed. Read more →


north carolina, with love

I took this while sitting on a rocker on Stacie's front porch. In early May I was in North Carolina visiting my sister Stacie. It was a glorious time. Almost every morning I enjoyed a pot of coffee on her front porch. And every moment of it, I felt I was experiencing a slice of heaven. The view from her porch is magnificent. The spring scents were sweet and subtle. The breeze was tender and... Read more →


fun with blogging

(This picture is of Galilee.) I'm reading Gretchen Rubin's, The Happiness Project. Several days ago I read her chapter, "Be Serious about Play." She raised several questions that got me thinking about the fun in my life, challenging me to think about what I consider "fun." Early in the book she talked about, "Be Gretchen," admonishing her readers to be themselves. Relating to the chapter on fun, that translates to being myself and not claiming... Read more →


mothers' day blues

I sit on Stacie's porch and enjoy the quiet and beautiful North Carolina nature show. I will sorely miss this quiet-time spot when I go home in a few days. This is a foretaste of heaven. I'm so thankful for the reprieve from real life. It's Mothers' Day. I'm thankful for all the mothers who have positively influenced the way I mother. Mama! I'm thankful for the hurdles she overcame and/or at least wrestled, to... Read more →